Are we creating a robot uprising? Shoppers tell us what they think of TAS

Our TAS team were so excited to be one of only four research projects selected to participate in Futures Festival at Cabot Circus shopping centre in Bristol on 16th September. Despite the rain, seven of our team, representing most of the aspects of project, spent a Saturday afternoon talking to many Bristolians and Bristol visitors about what TAS is trying to do, and their response to it. Visitors got to participate in some word clouds, have a go at robot-based activities and get involved in the conversation around the increased use of autonomous systems, AI and robots in our everyday lives. We were very pleased that so many people paused their shopping and other activities to come and chat with us, and we spoke to over 50 adults and children across the 4 hours.

We showed them our new project illustration:


We asked three questions that were displayed on a TV screen to engage visitors and to inspire interesting conversation: What word comes to mind when you hear “trust”?, What excites you the most about living in a world of autonomous systems? and What’s your biggest fear about living in a world of autonomous systems? After they had finished talking to us and having a go at the activities we also asked some of the visitors if they would trust a drone to deliver a secret letter and if they had learned anything from talking to us:


The children and teenage visitors especially liked the robotic activities: they could test the image identification software on a drone, try and paint a picture using a robot swarm, and move objects using a soft robot.

We had a great day and we’re really grateful to everyone who stopped on the day to talk to us. Thanks to the Futures team for arranging it. We’ll be at the Festival of Tomorrow in Swindon in February 2024 to show even more of the project- follow our page or on X (Twitter) to hear more.

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