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Workshop | Ethics, Anthropomorphism, and Robots

From: 2021-06-23 To:2021-06-23

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  • Thematic Line

    Modern & Contemporary Philosophy
  • Research Group

    Aesthetics, Politics & Knowledge
  • 23 June 2021 | 14h30-18h00 | Online


    Zoom link available by request: ifilosofia@letras.up.pt


    Keynote speakers

    • Sven Nyholm, Utrecht University
    • Katie Evans, Sorbonne Université


    How should human beings and robots interact with each other? Can we consider robots and AIs as ethical agents? Humans create robots and AI (artificial intelligence) to achieve their objectives. Therefore, robots and AI should be adapted to human needs and preferences. However, this view presupposes two aspects that are still problematic: a) that human beings always know their preferences (goals, desires, needs, etc.) in a complete and clear way; b) that it is always necessary and advantageous to adapt robots and AI to human preferences, and not the opposite. These premises can produce negative and ethically harmful consequences.

    The goal of this workshop is to open a debate on robots and AI from an ethical point of view. This debate is increasingly necessary today due to the pervasiveness of these technologies in everyday life. Moreover, the ethical debate (how the interaction between machines and humans should be) is deeply connected to the theme of anthropomorphism, that is, the tendency of humans to project their mental contents (conscious or unconscious) on machines. The main question is the following: How should human beings and robots interact with each other, given (a) the differences in the kinds of agency human beings and robots are capable of and (b) people’s tendency to anthropomorphize robots? The ethics of robots and AI crosses computer science, anthropology, neuroscience, psychology, and psychoanalysis.

    The workshop brings together researchers and scholars in the philosophy of technology and psychoanalysis in order to open a debate on a still unexplored topic. The workshop is also open to graduate students, doctoral students, researchers, and teachers.




    (Portugal time)

    14h30 | Introduction | Luca Possati (IF-UP)

    15h00 | Sven Nyholm (University of Utrecht)

    16h30 | Katie Evans (Sorbonne University of Paris)



    Image: Photograph James Turrell Studio. TURRELL, James: Afrum Pale Blue (1968). Projection Piece


    Luca M. Possati (IF-UP)
    RG Aesthetics, Politics & Knowledge (APK)
    Instituto de Filosofia da Universidade do Porto - FIL/00502
    Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia (FCT)

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