About Me

I am currently a senior research scientist at Georgia Tech Research Institute working in the Aerospace, Transportation and Advanced Systems Laboratory. Previously I was a graduate student studying under Dr. Ron Arkin as part of the Mobile Robot Lab within the College of Computing.

I grew up in North Olmsted Ohio, a suburb of Cleveland. I began my academic career at Northwestern University graduating with a Bachelor's degree in Psychology. After that, I worked for a bit as an editorial assistant for a financial magazine. I first returned to academia as a member of the research and development team at MIT's genome center helping to sequence the human genome. It was there, building robotic liquid handling systems, that I became interested in AI and robotics. Later I went on to work with production robots at Speedline and commercial software at Symantec while concurrently completing a Master's degree in Computer Science at Boston University. After completing the degree I taught at BU for a year before matriculating at Georgia Tech. I have a wonderful family.

My research focuses on developing the theoretical underpinnings necessary for human-robot social relations. My goal is to build robots that can not only interact with humans, but are also capable of representing, reasoning, and developing relationships with others. Towards this goal my research has developed innovative methods allowing a robot to decieve and examining how and when people trust robots.

My hobbies are skiing (my favorite), scuba diving, and hiking. I've scuba dived on the shipwrecks at Palawan in the Philippines. I am also part of a club of people which attempt to hike to the top of every state. I've climbed 37 so far.

Research Interests

My research borrows heavily from social psychology, behavioral economics, and artificial intelligence focusing on higher, cognitive, aspects of human-robot socialization such as relationship development, modeling of one's interactive partner, and reasoning about trust and deception. I utilize theories and methods from these fields to create robots that are capable of social interaction with an ordinary person in variety of different environments. My work has focused on the development of a framework based on social psychological and game theory that allows a robot to computationally represent its social interactions with a human. This framework has, in turn, led to insights into higher social phenomenon such as trust, deception, and stereotyping as well as computational methods that allow a robot to reason about whether a situation demands trust or warrants deception. With respect to applications, my primarily interested lies in the areas of healthcare and search and rescue. Our research on human-robot trust has, for example, focused on emergency evacuation scenarios in which a person must decide whether or not to follow a robot's evacuation directions. Overall, my research strives to positively influence both the development of interactive robot and the people that choose to use those robots.

My Google scholar page can be found here: Alan R. Wagner


Research Projects

Human-Robot Trust

Robot Deception

Robot Social Perception