Talk by David Gunkel, "Person, Thing Robot"

November, 8th

Person, Thing, Robot

David J. Gunkel - Northern Illinois University, USA – 

November 8th, 2023 in HS III (NIG) at 15:00


Robots are a curious sort of thing. On the one hand, they are designed and manufactured technological artifacts. They are things. Yet, and on the other hand, these things are not quite like other things. They seem to have social presence. They are able to talk and interact with us. And many are designed to mimic or simulate the capabilities and behaviors that are commonly associated with human or animal intelligence. Robots therefore invite and encourage zoomorphism, anthropomorphism, and even personification. In his new book Person, Thing, Robot (MIT Press, 2023), David J. Gunkel sets out to answer the vexing question: What exactly is a robot? Rather than try to fit robots into the existing moral and legal categories by way of arguing for either their reification or personification, however, Gunkel argues for a revolutionary reformulation of the entire system, developing a new approach to technology ethics that can scale to the unique opportunities and challenges of the twenty-first century and beyond.