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Cultural techniques, societal norms and conventions regulate the social appropriateness of interventions in socially shared situations. For example, they determine the appropriate time for apologies, greetings, good wishes, reproaches or other social practices and rituals. In a society where artificial agents such as personal assistants or domestic robots are very common, artificial and human actors have to show consideration for each other. Artificial agents have to learn culturally specific, socially appropriate manners, if we want to design them to be seen as decent. In our project “poliTE – Social Appropriateness for Artificial Assistants”, which is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research in an effort to develop human-centered technology along the lines of Horizon 2020 “Responsible Research and Innovation”, we aim to understand the nature of decency between humans, before we evaluate to what extent designers of artificial assistants should try to implement features of social behaviour into their systems or to what extent they should try to make their products seem “polite”. For that purpose, we examine politeness, decorum, good manners and overall appropriate conduct linguistically, philosophically, psychologically and anthropologically to come to understand the genesis of decency, as well as quantifiable observables leading to the possibility of a social behaviour’s evaluation as proper or improper. Our interdisciplinary approach fits well with your conference’s composition and we would like to share with fellow researchers and whomever is interested the results of our current research on the nature and genesis of social appropriateness, as well as our outlook on the need to implement social behaviours into technology. More information on our project:

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Jacqueline Bellon (Germany) 10967
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