Welcome reception: Thursday, August 21, at 7:00–9:30 p.m.

A trivia-loving, Wellington-wearing, tweeting robot is hitchhiking across Canada this summer, one ride at a time. hitchBOT left Halifax, Nova Scotia, on July 27, with an ultimate destination of Open Space Arts Society in Victoria, British Columbia, more than six thousand kilometres away. 

hitchBOT officially started its journey with a visit to the Institute for Applied Creativity at Nova Scotia College of Art and Design University’s Port Campus on Thursday, July 24, 2014. Visitors to the institute had the opportunity to challenge the robot to a game of Canadian trivia and to interact with it on Twitter @hitchbot. On Sunday, July 27, hitchBOT’s family bade it farewell near the Veterans Memorial Highway heading westbound, where it began its cross-country hitchhiking adventure. 

hitchBOT was first conceived in 2013 as a collaborative art project between Dr. David Harris Smith, assistant professor in the Department of Communication Studies and Multimedia at McMaster University, and Dr. Frauke Zeller, assistant professor in the School of Professional Communication at Ryerson University. Since then, hitchBOT’s family has grown to include Dr. Ebrahim Bagheri, assistant professor in electrical and computer engineering at Ryerson University, and Dr. Frank Rudzicz, assistant professor in computer science at the University of Toronto. Along with their research assistants in communications, multimedia, and mechatronics, this team has brought hitchBOT to life to explore topics in human-robot interaction and to test technologies in artificial intelligence and speech recognition and processing. Developed as a sociable robot, Canadian’s and visitors alike have reponded enthusiastically to this friendly digital stranger.

“Usually, we are concerned with whether we can trust robots. This project asks, Can robots trust human beings?” says Frauke Zeller.

With hitchBOT’s final destination in mind, a reception for hitchBOT and members of its team will be hosted at Open Space!

Since hitchBOT is relying solely on hitchhiking to reach its destination, its family does not know how long the cross-country trip will take. . . . hitchBOT is, however, travelling quickly!

Fans can follow hitchBOT’s journey online at www.hitchBOT.me and on social media.

Twitter: @hitchbot
Instagram: @hitchbot
Facebook: www.facebook.com/hitchbot

About hitchBOT
hitchBOT is an outgoing and charismatic robot that is hitchhiking across Canada starting July 27, 2014. Using artificial intelligence (AI) and user interface (UI) design, including speech recognition, speech processing, and social media and Wikipedia APIs, hitchBOT charms its way through rides across Canada.

Ryerson University is Canada’s leader in innovative, career-oriented education and a university clearly on the move. With a mission to serve societal need, and a long-standing commitment to engaging its community, Ryerson offers more than one hundred undergraduate and graduate programs. Distinctly urban, culturally diverse, and inclusive, the university is home to more than thirty-eight thousand students, including 2,300 master’s and PhD students; nearly 2,700 faculty and staff; and more than 155,000 alumni worldwide. Research at Ryerson is on a trajectory of success and growth: externally funded research has doubled in the past four years. The G. Raymond Chang School of Continuing Education is Canada’s leading provider of university-based adult education. For more information, visitwww. ryerson.ca.

McMaster University, one of four Canadian universities listed among the top one hundred universities in the world, is renowned for its innovation in both learning and discovery. It has a student population of twenty-three thousand and more than 160,000 alumni in 140 countries.

NSCAD University: Founded in 1887, NSCAD University offers instruction in fine and media arts, craft, design, art history, and critical studies. Degrees granted include a master of design, master of fine arts, bachelor of arts, bachelor of design, and bachelor of of fine arts. NSCAD is the only university wholly dedicated to visual art and design east of Toronto.

Program Supporters: McMaster University, Ryerson University, UHN Toronto Rehabilitation Institute, University of Toronto, Cleverbot, existor, NSCAD University, Azure, Canada Council for the Arts, Conseil des Arts du Canada, Capital Regional District, Victoria Foundation, British Columbia Arts Council, Province of Britich Columbia Community Gaming Grant, Canadian Heritage, Patriomoine canadien, City of Victoria, Young Canada Works

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510 Fort Street, 2nd floor
Victoria, British Columbia

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