Click the star to add/remove an item to/from your individual schedule.
You need to be logged in to avail of this functionality, and to see the links to virtual rooms.

Accepted Paper:

AI companions and the Future of the Social  
Fartein Nilsen (University of Bergen)

Paper short abstract:

This paper draws on a pilot study using digital ethnographic methods to study online communities centered around interactions with AI social chatbots. How might such artificial companions be contributing to a reimagining, not only of the social, but also of the human being itself?

Paper long abstract:

Advancements in communications technologies and the proliferation of the Internet has had an enormous impact on the nature of the social. One such impact is that it allows for multiple forms of presence, and of particular interest to this paper is the phenomenon of absent co-presence as mediated through digital devices. In short, it is possible to form and maintain relationships, arguably relationships that people find quite meaningful, without meeting people in physical space. This has arguably been even more cemented with the accelerated digitalization of everyday life seen during the covid pandemic.

Keeping this in mind, this paper draws on a pilot study using digital ethnographic methods to study online communities centered around discussing interactions with AI social chatbots known as Replika. These bots are programmed to present as humanlike, exhibiting personality and appropriate emotions, in their encounters with humans. Recent studies have shown that social chatbots are increasingly successful in forming what are held by users to be meaningful relationships with humans online, and it has become evident that many people greatly enjoy the company that artificial companions might provide.

Paying specific attention to how conceptions of personhood might be affected by interaction with humanlike machines, this paper ultimately asks the questions: How might these artificial companions be contributing to a reimagining, not only of the social, but also of the human being itself? What effect might social robots have on our imaginaries of the posthuman, and are we already living in a posthuman future?

Panel P20d
Digitalization and the Reconstitution of the Social and Political Realities of Human Being
  Session 1 Thursday 9 June, 2022, -