Myrthe Tielman

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With a background in cognitive artificial intelligence and human-computer interaction, my research interest lies in how we can create technology which interacts with humans in a meaningful way. Although computers have many strengths, tasks like interpreting social situations, offering personalized support and understanding people's motivations are not first among them. However, all of these can become very important as artificial intelligence progresses, and we will start interacting with technology more and more. Moreover, I believe that technology can play a significant positive role in our lives, especially if it learns to interact with us on a human level. Think of a companion robot playing with children in a hospital, a virtual coach offering personalized assistance in following psychotherapy, or an e-partner which supports visually impaired people with navigation. All of these examples require a level of social understanding from technology about who we are as people, and how to adapt to our individual behaviors and needs. How to create such technology is the core of my research. This ranges from translating results from research on human behavior into technology, to finding those technological methods which allow computers to display the right behavior. In my work, I aim to combine methods from the field of Human-Machine Interaction with knowledge based AI and formal modelling.

Much of what I do revolves around the theme of responsible and trustworthy AI. In particular, I am interested in how we can help AI systems understand people better. For instance, to understand people's values, how much a person trusts an AI system and whether a person understands the AI system back. In my ideal world, we will have AI assistants which inspire appropriate trust, which take into account people's values, which are explainable in their decision making and which understand the capabilities and needs of the humans they support.