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The Advance of Artificial Common Sense

Hobrechtstrasse 66 Berlin, 12047
Mental Health


More and more people use their smartphones as their agony aunts - or, at least, as tools to find out about life's existential questions. „Siri, I am feeling sad" - this is a kind of a conversation an increasing number of people are engaging into today. Not only end users but also developers share a belief that technology can offer an 'objective' response to such requests because it doesn't have feelings. Except that, of course, it does - the feelings that we, humans, have attributed to it and programmed into its wiring.

Artificial intelligence is no longer just about being able to calculate the quickest driving route from London to Bucharest. Think next level, think artificial emotional intelligence: "the capability of individuals to recognize their own emotions and those of others, discern between different feelings and label them appropriately, use emotional information to guide thinking and behavior, and manage and/or adjust emotions to adapt to environments or achieve one's goal(s)". 

By comparing examples of interactions conversational agents and mood management apps across cultures and languages we will demonstrate that they are not omnipresent and objective minds. Instead, they are grotesque and yet distinct embodiments of certain emotional regimes: modes of emotional expression and thought that are dominant in particular time periods and cultural contexts. As a result the expansion of AI into our private lives is unlikely to liberate us from conventions about ways we express emotions and act upon them - instead, it may cement them further.

About the speakers:
Judith Duportail is a French journalist who writes about love, freedom and how technology affects the previous two. Her texts were published by Vice, Slate, The Guardian...

Polina Aronson, is a sociologist and the debate editor of open Democracy Russia. She holds a Ph.D. in Sociology and is working on a book about perceptions of love in Russia and in the West.

Jorge Chamorro

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