Living with Robots recounts a foundational shift in the field of robotics, from artificial intelligence to artificial empathy, and foreshadows an inflection point in human evolution. Today’s robots engage with human beings in socially meaningful ways, as therapists, trainers, mediators, caregivers, and companions. Social robotics is grounded in artificial intelligence, but the field’s most probing questions explore the nature of the very real human emotions that social robots are designed to emulate.
Social roboticists conduct their inquiries out of necessity—every robot they design incorporates and tests a number of hypotheses about human relationships. Paul Dumouchel and Luisa Damiano show that as roboticists become adept at programming artificial empathy into their creations, they are abandoning the conventional conception of human emotions as discrete, private, internal experiences. Rather, they are reconceiving emotions as a continuum between two actors who coordinate their affective behavior in real time. Rethinking the role of sociability in emotion has also led the field of social robotics to interrogate a number of human ethical assumptions, and to formulate a crucial political insight: there are simply no universal human characteristics for social robots to emulate. What we have instead is a plurality of actors, human and nonhuman, in noninterchangeable relationships.
As Living with Robots shows, for social robots to be effective, they must be attentive to human uniqueness and exercise a degree of social autonomy. More than mere automatons, they must become social actors, capable of modifying the rules that govern their interplay with humans.
Offers insight into problems raised by advances in robotics and artificial intelligence that will be faced by future societies. Throughout the book, the authors provide a conceptual framework for thinking about possible scenarios of human–robot interactions, most extensively with regard to our relationships with social robots… Living with Robots will meet various expectations, uniting the intellectual depth of a carefully documented academic treatise with the pleasure of a casual page-turner. Those in search of cultural erudition are provided with myriad references to books and movies, and those with a taste for technical novelty are treated to fascinating descriptions of the most hi-tech social robots.
A thoughtful and engaging discussion about an emerging area in applied ethics—social robotics… A timely and well-written volume that addresses many contemporary and future moral questions regarding how we treat artificial intelligence.
A very substantial philosophical study.
One should not lose sight of the prospective and speculative aspect of the research and ideas of Dumouchel and Damiano. But their work is nevertheless remarkably profound and intelligent, and it provides us, as do all serious inquiries into robotics, with a better understanding of ourselves, especially the social aspect of our minds. Even if one might doubt that social robots could ever decipher the incredible complexity of our feelings and adapt to them, this project nevertheless represents a fascinating step, less in robotics itself than in the quest for the human mind to understand itself.
Living with Robots is a convincing reflection on the increasing presence of robots in society. Designed to operate in an environment shaped and occupied by humans, robots are the new actors in a technical, social, and cultural transformation. The book offers a distinctive and fruitful approach to social robotics through different theoretical frameworks, analyzing the implications of interactions between humans and robots, between humans via robots, and between robots themselves.
Living with Robots is a timely and fascinating examination of social robots that exist in the real world, have bodies, and interact with human beings. While addressing the practical functions of social robots, at its heart the book is deeply philosophical. The authors invite us to reflect on the nature of human beings, mind, and sociability, as well as the human–robot dynamics of emotional relationships. This gives rise to novel and important engagement with moral and political questions, from quality of life to military applications.
[Dumouchel and Damiano’s] book takes us on a detailed tour of the philosophy of artificial intelligence (AI)—especially as it applies to robots intended to build social relationships with humanity. This is a work of serious scholarship, with arguments about identity, authority, autonomy and what is termed ‘artificial empathy’ presented with reference to a range of example systems. Kant, Descartes, Hobbes and other philosophical heavyweights get the exposure you might expect, but when set alongside the views of such disparate players as psychologist Jean Piaget and science-fiction writer Algis Budrys the analysis offers considerable breadth…If we are to build a robust, appropriate ethical structure around the next generation of technical development—some combination of deep learning, artificial intelligence, robotics and artificial empathy—we need to understand that managing the impact of these technologies is far too important to be left to those who are enthusiastically engaged in producing them. This book is both a comprehensive, engaging review of philosophical thought and a warning to anyone who thinks that the integration of robotics into our society is about technology alone.
- 280 pages
- 5-1/2 x 8-1/4 inches
- Harvard University Press
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