In February 2012, Robonaut R2 and Dan Burbank performed the first human-humanoid handshake in space. The handshake welcomed R2 as a crewmember—a social agent rather than a thing. In Heidegger’s terms, it is experienced not only as present-at-hand or ready-to-hand, but also as a quasi-Dasein. Extending Ihde’s concept of alterity relations we argue it is experienced in lively alterity relations, given respect as an other capable of initiating and reacting to contact. R2 is capable not only of executing programs, but of also playing its part in choreographed and improvised collaborative performances within a shared social milieu.
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