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Towards Ethics for Human-Robot Co-evolution: Exploring Artificial Empathy

22 February 2024
6.00pm – 8.00pm AEDT
Ritchie Theatre, John Niland Scientia UNSW Kensington Campus Sydney, NSW 2052
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An image of a robot eye

In the field of Social Robotics, critical research is currently focused on “artificial empathy” to design and construct social robots capable of communicating effectively with humans through affective signals and emotions.

Social Robotics is a recent branch of robotics dedicated to the production of robots capable of communicating with humans through social signals in a wide variety of socially relevant uses that range from sources of information to marketing, educational and therapeutic mediation to coaching and training.

Key to the development of artificial empathy is the production of emotional or empathic robots. These social robots need to be competent in affective communication in order to have a credible social presence, broadly construed as the capability of generating in humans the impression of being in the company of someone.

This presentation proposes a philosophical exploration of the domain of artificial empathy with a twofold objective: to define the theoretical models of emotions underlying current research engaged in the creation of social and empathic robots; and to discuss the implications of these models for the future of our social ecologies, particularly with regard to the development of an ethics of Social Robotics that supports a socially sustainable diffusion of these new robots.

Refreshments will be available.

Kindly supported by the ADA Research Entities Development Fund: Visiting Scholar Scheme (2023).

A photo of Professor Luisa Damiano

Professor Luisa Damiano

Professor of Philosophy of Science at the IULM University

Luisa Damiano is professor of Philosophy of Science at the IULM University in Milan, where she directs the PhD School for Communication Studies and co-directs the research center CRiSiCo. Her research areas are Epistemology of Complex Systems, Epistemology of the Cognitive Sciences and Epistemology of the Sciences of the Artificial. Her publications include Living with Robots (with P. Dumouchel, Harvard University Press, 2017) and co-edited special journal issues most recently on “Experimental and Integrative Approaches to Robo-ethics,” International Journal of Social Robotics (2023), “Autopoiesis: Foundations of Life, Cognition, and Emergence of Self/Other,” BioSystems (2023), and “Biology in AI. New frontiers in hardware, software and wetware modelling of cognition,” Artificial Life (2023).