Excerpt from this article:
Hiroshi Ishiguro builds androids. Beautiful, realistic, uncannily convincing human replicas. Academically, he is using them to understand the mechanics of person-to-person interaction. But his true quest is to untangle the ineffable nature of connection itself.
…At any given time, students and staff may be testing, measuring, and recording the responses of dozens of volunteers to the androids at their disposal. What about its behavior or appearance, its specific facial expressions and minute body movements, do they find alienating? What draws them closer? These androids are used to find answers to an ever-growing list of research questions: How important is nonverbal communication to establishing trust between humans (and, therefore, between human and android)? Under what circumstances might we treat an android like a human? In this way, Ishiguro’s collective of labs is dedicated to the engineering of human intimacy.