Robots? They’re empathetic. The new frontier of Artificial Intelligence


Mediator in education, assistant, help-nurse: also these tasks, which require a high level of interaction and understanding of human emotions, may be carried out by robots in the near future. This is the new frontier of Artificial Intelligence, as explained in the book Living with robots. Essay about Artificial Empathy (Raffaello Cortina Editore) by Paul Dumouchel, a Professor of Philosophy at Ritsumeikan University in Kyoto, and Luisa Damiano, Professor of Philosophy of Science at the University of Messina.
Social robotics, which initially sounded like pure fiction, is becoming one of the main fields of theoretical and applied research. The robots produced in this field are machines designed to interact with human beings in socially significant ways. The essay explores the new frontiers of social robotics, highlighting its experimental developments that open up new ways for thinking about the mind, sociability and human emotionality, and analysing the ethical challenges that we will need to face to work alongside artificial social partners.
The objective of social robotics? Much more than merely producing a new “class of machines”. Rather, as explained by the authors, the objective is to inaugurate a new phase of human evolution, "co-evolution with an artificial social species": robots that can become part of the human social fabric, communicating with us at an emotional level, becoming our partners in different contexts. The roles? A wide variety of them: from entertainment, sales and information to more sophisticated tasks such as care for the elderly, the disabled and children with special needs. Always collaborating with human beings. What is sure is that artificial empathy will be a challenge: social robotics, as underlined by the authors, will change both us and our world.

For these reasons, at 255hec we hope that a serious ethics protocol for Artificial Intelligence will soon be discussed. A very interesting topic to think about.