Destruction, catharsis, and emotional release in human-robot interaction

Michal Luria, Ophir Sheriff, Marian Boo, Jodi Forlizzi, Amit Zoran

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


The intersection between social, technical, and economic factors biases new product development to focus on utilitarian value. However, objects that serve alternative goals, behaviors and emotions have accompanied humankind for millennia. This article speculates about robotic objects for one non-utilitarian behavior and its implications: destruction. Robots and objects for destruction have a shared history of embodiment and heavily rely on their embodiment for interaction. Yet the topic of destruction is not very common in the field of human-robot interaction (HRI). Thus, we (1) present a survey of ethnographic investigations that show modes of HRI related to destruction, and (2) develop speculative concepts of interaction that demonstrate these ideas in HRI. By exemplifying a broad range of speculative uses of destruction in HRI and grounding it in literature, we hope this theoretical and conceptual article will bring a fresh perspective on alternative interactions with robots.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number22
JournalACM Transactions on Human-Robot Interaction
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2020

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  • HRI
  • Interaction design
  • catharsis
  • creation
  • destruction
  • embodied interaction
  • human-object interaction
  • human-robot interaction
  • material culture
  • social robots
  • speculative design


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