Seminars & Colloquia

John Symons

University of Kansas

"Close Personal Relationships with AI Artifacts "

Friday March 08, 2024 10:00 AM
Location: Zoom, EB2 NCSU Centennial Campus
Zoom Meeting Info
(Visitor parking instructions)

This talk is part of the AI in Society


Abstract: Can AI artifacts genuinely participate in close personal relationships? Amidst the growing trend of using chatbots and robots to combat loneliness we explore the advantages and potential harms of substituting AI for human interactions in friendships, romantic relationships, and parenting. We focus on the central role of finitude and embodiment in human relationships, emphasizing how these aspects are integral to the depth and authenticity of interpersonal connections. The central argument is that the moral significance of human-to-human connections is rooted in part in our finite and embodied existence. This renders AI incapable of replicating these relationships for reasons we explain. While we acknowledge the need to address the loneliness epidemic, we question recourse to AI artifacts as a solution. We discuss key concepts like special obligations in close personal relationships and consider whether the subjective experience of forming real friendships or falling in love with AI involves deception.
Short Bio: John Symons is Professor of Philosophy and Courtesy Professor of Computer Science at The University of Kansas and Director of the Center for Cyber Social Research. His research areas include philosophy of technology and general philosophy of science. He is author of 11 books or edited volumes and over 60 articles and book chapters. John is committed to interdisciplinary cooperation in research and teaching and his research has appeared in computer science, mathematics, and applied economics journals in addition to philosophy journals. He was past editor-in-chief of Synthese (2002-11), the leading journal in epistemology and philosophy of science and has served as editorial board member of numerous interdisciplinary journals and journals of philosophy. He currently serves as executive editor of Philosophy and Technology and editor-in-chief of Global Philosophy. John is a regular participant in Complexity Science programs and groups internationally and has served as visiting faculty at Peking University and The University of Lisbon. He is a member of the Institut International de Philosophie (IIP) and is an associate member of the Institut d'histoire et de philosophie des science et des techniques (IHPST), Paris 1. In 2022 he was elected a member of the International Academy for Philosophy of Science (AIPS).

Co-speaker Bio: Oluwaseun (Shay) Sanwoolu is a PhD student in the department of Philosophy at the University of Kansas. Her interests are in Ethics, Philosophy of technology and Philosophy of Love.

Host: Munindar Singh, CSC

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