Research group


Digitalization and robotization of society


The research group focuses on the emergence of digital technology and social robots, and the new cultural practices this brings to society.



Research activity

Current Projects

Current Projects

Are robots ready for society, and is society ready for robots? The aim of this project is to foster cross-sectoral, international and interdisciplinary collaboration to advance social robotics. The project will focus on the health domain, investigating how social robots can be included in people’s lives. By closing the design-development-experiment cycle embedded in a multidisciplinary and multi-sectoral context, the project aims to foster sociotechnical human-robot relations relevant for robotic inclusiveness. The LIFEBOTS project builds a knowledge hub for social robotics research and development through staff exchange. The project’s three main goals are to: 1. Enhance the competencies of involved staff members with knowledge from different disciplines, refining and focusing their skills, while developing their knowledge beyond their current sector. 2. Build a tri-sectoral network involving academia, industry and users of technology such that all stakeholders can benefit from the knowledge of the others. 3. Create an enduring network that will outlive the funding of the grant committed to regularly promote staff exchange and the coordination of high-end dissemination with cross-sectoral and multidisciplinary activities in order to attract new staff for their organizations, share knowledge and give visibility to members outside the network. KULT is participating with mutual research staff exchange, primarily with STS mileus in KAIST, South Korea.

Project leader: Artur Serrano (NTNU)

Contact person: Roger A. Søraa (NTNU)

Funding: Research and Innovation Staff Exchange (RISE)

Duration: 2019-2025

External site for LIFEBOTS Exchange



The LIFEBOTS-Exchange-Extended (LEE) project brings together Norwegian companies and public organizations with academic experts to envision the future of robotics in the healthcare sector and expand the impact and reach of LIFEBOT Exchange. 

Project leader: Artur Serrano (NTNU)

Contact person: Roger A. Søraa (NTNU); Mark Kharas (NTNU); Yu Cheng (NTNU)

Funding: The Research Council of Norway 

Duration: 2019-2023

External site for LIFEBOTS-Exchange-Extended

The Norwegian Research School on Digitalization, Culture and Society (DIGIT) offers joint seminars, academic courses, writing workshops, communication and management training, network- and secondment opportunities, providing PhD students and postdoctoral fellows with a platform to conduct innovative investigations into the complex interplay of digital, cultural and social changes. 

Project leader: Roger A. Søraa (NTNU)

Research partner: OsloMet

Contact person: Roger A. Søraa (NTNU)

Funding: OsloMet

Duration: 2022-2029

External site for DIGIT

Artificial Imaginaries of the Socio-Technical (AImagine)

AImagine enhances DigiKULT’s focus on digitalization as societal inquiry related to fictional imaginaries of technology. It investigates how fictional depictions of AI/robots lay the groundwork for the development and domestication of actual technology, and how they negotiate current issues of increased reliance on and use of technology in everyday practices. AI and robots are also capturing our imagination like never before, and we need more knowledge on how imaginaries relate to real life application. 

Project leader: Roger A. Søraa (NTNU)

Contact person: Roger A. Søraa (NTNU)

Funding: NTNU Humanities Faculty

Duration: 2023-2027

External site for AImagine

Robotics4EU will create and empower the EU-wide responsible robotics community representing robotics innovators from companies and academia in the four application areas, as well as citizens/users and policy/decision-makers by: (1) raising awareness about non-technological aspects of robotics by organizing community building and co-creation events bringing together the robotics community and citizens; (2) advocating for the responsible robotics among all stakeholders groups; (3) developing a responsible robotics maturity assessment model and bringing the project results to the standardization bodies. KULT is a project partner leading the healthcare and Societal Readiness part of the project.

Project leader: CIVITTA

Contact person: Roger A. Søraa (NTNU)

Funding: Horizon 2020 (Research and Innovation programme)

Duration: 2020-2023

External site for Robotics4EU

The research project Caring Futures: Developing Care Ethics for Technology-Mediated Care Practices will further develop care ethics in an increasingly technological health and welfare sector. The project revisits care ethics in practice- and experience-near contexts, at a time of changing health, care, and welfare policies, services, and practices. Our principal research question is: how can technology-mediated care practices become care-ethically sound – and, correspondingly, how can care ethics become more technology-aware? 

Project leader: Professor Ellen Ramvi (UiS)

Contact person: Roger A. Søraa (NTNU)

Funding: The Research Council of Norway

Duration: 2020-2024

External site for Caring Futures

Instagram; Twitter handle: @UisQualitech

DigiFrailCare targets digitisation and the use of digitised health data to improve health services for older people at risk of or with frailty. Frailty refers to age-related physical debility; a complex condition characterised by a cumulative decline across multiple physiological systems and increasing vulnerability to adverse health outcomes and death. Sustainable health services for frail older people are highly needed. The project will impact future multidisciplinary work models for frailty to improve health and function in older people, for the sake of improved and sustainable future health care services.

Project leader: Roger A. Søraa (NTNU)

Funding: Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences (NTNU)

Contact: Roger A. Søraa (NTNU)

Duration: 2023-2027

How are new technologies of automation changing work-life? We are now at a point in time when digital technologies are changing societies and work-life. Increasingly advanced, complex, and intelligent machines prove capable of performing work previously mastered by humans alone. The effects and implications of this for both individual workers and society are not yet known. AUTOWORK, an exciting collaboration between NTNU Norwegian University of Science and Technology and Monash University in Australia, will explore this transformation across three sectors poised to be particularly impacted by automation: Building, Sale, and Healthcare.

Project leader: Håkon Fyhn (NTNU)

Contact persons: Roger A. Søraa (NTNU); Mark Kharas (NTNU)

Funding: The Research Council of Norway 

Duration: 2019-2024

External site for AUTOWORK


The project will investigate the use of Artificial Intelligence in the labor market, and how biases in hiring and promoting processes based on personal characteristics are potentially reproduced with AI-based systems.In an employment context, this can for example involve analyzing text created by an employee or recruitment candidate in order to assist management in deciding to invite a candidate for an interview, to training and employee engagement, or to monitor for infractions that could lead to disciplinary proceedings. It is therefore necessary to identify and mitigate biases that occur in applications used in a Human Resources Management (HRM) context. 

The project will (1) investigate this from a technical perspective by identifying how current AI systems are biased and propose solutions to make them less biased, and (2) from a social scientific side with extensive ethnographic fieldwork concerning the lived experiences of employees, Human Resource managers, and technology developers. The project will then (3) provide substantial training for HR managers and technology developers regarding the responsible development and implementation of AI.

Project leader: Roger A. Søraa (NTNU)

Contact persons: Roger A. Søraa (NTNU); Mark Kharas (NTNU)

Funding: Horizon Europe (RIA) 

Duration: 2022-2026

NTNU site for BIAS


This INTPART project investigates sociomaterial transformations in Norway and East Asia from a Humanities-based Science & Technology Studies (STS) framework on three thematic areas: sustainability, digitalization, and diversity.

Project leaders: Roger Søraa (NTNU); Marius Korsnes (NTNU)

Funding: The Research Council of Norway

Duration: 2023-2028

External site for SoMaT

«’Keep scrolling’: User-platform relationship on TikTok» is a research project about users and platforms. Based on ethnography, qualitative interviews and content analysis, the project will produce knowledge about use and user cultures on TikTok. The project combines Science and Technology Studies (STS) with internet studies for a critical analysis of TikTok as technology, culture, and practice.

Contact person: Kristine Ask

Funding: No external funding

NTNU site for “Keep scrolling”

Horny for Ghost: The collective mediation of sexual desire and "TikTok'ifaction" of fandom investigates a) how emotion (specifically sexual desire) is mediated and circulated on TikTok, b) how the material affordances of the platform are shaping creativity and community online, and c) how TikTok is changing, and continuing, established fan practices and -expressions. 

Contact person: Kristine Ask

NTNU site for Horny for Ghost

Completed projects

Completed projects

The spearhead project "Posthuman perspectives on Welfare Technology" (VELTEK) focused on a humanistic perspective that is based on human needs and dignity while not being opposed to technology. It is also important that welfare technology is not about a human-machine relationship in which the individual is responsible for his or her own welfare, but that it is understood as a network of people, organizations, professions and technical systems, as well as the importance of culture and basic values in the meeting point between welfare and technology. The aim of the project was to contribute to humanistic reflection on human dignity, autonomy, control and dependence as technological aids are increasingly integrated into the everyday life of the elderly. The project studied older people's experiences of an everyday life where they are increasingly dependent on but also given new opportunities because of technical aids, and society's discourses on these aids. The overall problem was: How are key values and concepts such as human dignity, quality of life, autonomy and control understood as technological aids are increasingly integrated into the everyday life of the elderly, and how is the understanding of values and concepts changed?
Funding: NTNU spearheads (2016-2019).

The primary goal of DRIVERS is to investigate how a digitized and automated transport sector affects drivers, driving behavior and practices. One of the work packages aims at developing dimensions of Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) in practice while working to build socially robust knowledge about automated vehicles. The WP explores possible impacts and implications that may otherwise remain uncovered and serve as an entry point for reflecting on underlying purposes, motivations, what is known and unknown; risks, assumptions and dilemmas. The project involves a strong network of international scholars as well as key actors in the digitalization and automation of the Norwegian transport sector, such as Norwegian Public Roads Administration (NPRA), the Norwegian Road Transport Association (NRTA), the Norwegian Automobile Association (NAF), Kolumbus, Forus Næringspark, AtB, NITO, Stavanger municipality). The project is led by NTNU KULT.

Funding: Research Council Norway Transport 2025 (2019-2023)

Contact: Tomas Moe Skjølsvold

External page for DRIVERS

The project aim to develop new and engaging ways of learning for Norwegian High School students and young migrants to improve academic performance and encourage integration. The Work Package DigiTac is located at KULT and investigates the role and potential of digital technology to create and support learning and integration in the classroom. DigiTac will develop course material about multimodal storytelling (digital storytelling) as part of the We Are All Migrants course, and analyse how the course uses digital technology.

The project’s multidisciplinary team are from NTNU’s Dept. of Language and Literature, Teacher Education, Interdisciplinary Studies of Culture and Education and Lifelong Learning. In addition the project cooperates with teachers and students about development, piloting and execution of the WAAM course. See for more info

Funding: The Research Council of Norway FINNUT 

Contact: Kristine Ask

The project looks at robotisation of agriculture. Changed market conditions, socio-economic factors and established practices affect how new technologies are used in agriculture. The aim of the SmaT project is to contribute to the development, adaptation and implementation of new sustainable technology in Norwegian agriculture in a sustainable manner. Examples are robot and drone technology, digitization, sensor technology, electrification, precision agriculture, etc. We will map ongoing technology development projects to assess the technology's maturity, examine how the technologies affect social and structural conditions in agriculture, and study market development and market opportunities for new technologies. SmaT also includes an innovation effort to actively develop and promote concrete technology development projects and business start-ups. The project is a collaboration between Ruralis - Department of Rural and Regional Research Felleskjøpet Agri, Norwegian Agricultural Cooperation, Mære agricultureskole, and Agriculture21 Trøndelag. KULT participates through a domestication analysis of No-Fence technology & a technology-historical analysis of the roundball-press among others.

Funding source: Research Council Norway, Forskningsmidlene for jordbruk og matindustri (2019-2023)

Contact: Terje Finstad 

My Robot Friend studies how social robots can become part of the daily lives of elderly people in their own homes, how robots can be a social resource for the elderly, and act as an intermediary between people who want to live at home,  their relatives, and municipal actors. The project examines the expectations of robots as future mechanical helpers. It explores the potential of assistive technology, and how robots can supplement, but not replace, human contact in care. Our hypothesis is that robots can lead to more autonomy for the individual. This is a collaborative project between NTNU Trondheim, NTNU Ålesund, ALV-Møre og Romsdal & Development Center for nursing homes and home services in Møre og Romsdal. The project is lead by NTNU KULT.

Funding: Helsemyndighetene / InnoMed (2018-2020).

Contact: Roger A. Søraa

How do gamer parents regulate player practices in their children? This study investigates parents who are gamers to better understand how game literacy shape mediations of play, and how they approach, negotiate and control their childrens player habits. Studies of gamers show that conflicts between parents and children are frequent and parents lack of experience with games are frequently a source of issues. What happens when the parents are expert gamers?

Based on qualitative interviews with norwegian gamer parents we use domestication theory to analyse negotioations surrounding games. Some questions we will explore are: What knowledge and sources do gamer parents base their mediation on? What do they consider risky behaviour in games? What strategies do they use to regular player behaviour in their children and themselves?

Funding: Spillforsk

Contact: Kristine Ask

The project focuses on improving the life of people with dementia and their caregivers. eWare aims to develop a useful and meaningful service in co-design with human beings. The main project goals of eWare are focused on reducing stress of the informal carers and the patient community, enhancing quality of life of the informal carer and person with dementia, and supporting communication and information between formal and informal carers. Lifestyle monitoring e.g. through sensors, can reduce caregiver’s distress and thereby extend the period that the informal caregiver can sustain the care and support needs for the person with dementia with active return in terms of patient life quality and social costs. KULT participates through a sociotechnical analysis of robots used in the project.

Funding source: eWare is fundingd by EU H2020 AAL (2017-2020).

Contact: Roger A. Søraa & Jon Sørgård

The pre-project ROBOCARE looked at how “Robotic Care” be seen as networks of health, technology and culture. The pre-project aimed at utilizing the expertise and innovative strength of the research community at NTNU/SINTEF to establish a radically interdisciplinary network for innovative research and development projects within welfare technologies. Welfare technologies have become a major area of priority for the public sector, led by the promise that such technologies can solve some of the challenges brought on by an aging population. This pre-project identified care needs among an aging population that can be alleviated by robotics technology. The development and implementation of culturally and contextually sensitive robotic services in the health and care sector was a focus. The implementation of welfare technology was at an early stage when the project started, so it was crucial to build on existing research and development in the field, still recognizing the necessity of local expertise and cultural adaptation. ROBOCARE saw technology as culturally produced and that the implementation must be adapted to the local contexts. This was explored by an interdisciplinary investigation of and development of robotic welfare services in a Norwegian context. The participants consisted of a radically interdisciplinary network, which aimed to investigate and develop possibilities for innovative research and development projects within welfare technologies. Researchers from NTNU involved were: Merete Lie (project leader), Roger A. Søraa, Guro Korsnes Kristensen, Malin Ravn, and Margrethe Aune
Funding: Research Council Norway IKTPLUSS (2016-2017)