Naomi is a PhD student in the Communication in Social Interaction (or "CoSI", for short) Department based at the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics as well as the Donders Centre for Cognition and Behaviour, Radboud University.
She is investigating the influence of visual bodily signals (such as eye gaze, facial expressions, or gestures) on language processing in face-to-face interaction. Her aim is to explore the bigger picture of what constitutes human communication by studying language processing in a conversational and multimodal interaction context. She grew up in France, and majored in Linguistics at Leiden University. She spent a year as a research assistant at the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics before starting with her PhD in 2019.
She is also an avid drawer, and enjoys doing outdoor activities such as climbing (although in the Netherlands it is usually restricted to indoor climbing or bouldering!).
People use their bodies when they talk—a lot. For example, we change our posture, move our head, gesture with our arms and hands, and use facial expressions to convey different things. In other words, visual signals form an essential part of human communication, at least in many cultures.
It is the year 2049. We now co-exist with artificial intelligence. Human-like agents are completely integrated into our society and work regular jobs. They act and look fully human. Like in the dystopian movie ‘Blade Runner’, inspired by Philip K. Dick’s novel ‘Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?’, or the more recent TV series ‘Westworld’, the humanoids can imitate all the outward signals we attribute to consciousness, and appear entirely self-aware. In other words, we have reached the point in time at which technological growth becomes uncontrollable and irreversible, resulting in unforeseeable changes to human civilization.
Imagine your laptop screen keeps freezing, the video of your friend or colleague suddenly lags and their speech sounds like a robot. You want to talk, but you are not sure about when to start your turn in conversation. There is an awkward silence. The screen turns black.