Close Engagements with Artificial Companions: Key Social, Psychological, Ethical and Design Issues

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Yorick Wilks
John Benjamins Publishing, 2010 - Computers - 315 pages
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What will it be like to admit Artificial Companions into our society? How will they change our relations with each other? How important will they be in the emotional and practical lives of their owners since we know that people became emotionally dependent even on simple devices like the Tamagotchi? How much social life might they have in contacting each other? The contributors to this book discuss the possibility and desirability of some form of long-term computer Companions now being a certainty in the coming years. It is a good moment to consider, from a set of wide interdisciplinary perspectives, both how we shall construct them technically as well as their personal philosophical and social consequences. By Companions we mean conversationalists or confidants not robots but rather computer software agents whose function will be to get to know their owners over a long period. Those may well be elderly or lonely, and the contributions in the book focus not only on assistance via the internet (contacts, travel, doctors etc.) but also on providing company and Companionship, by offering aspects of real personalization."
 

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Contents

In good company? On the threshold of robotic Companions
3
Introducing artificial Companions
11
Section II Ethical and philosophical issues
21
Artificial Companions and their philosophical challenges
23
Conditions for companionhood
29
Digital Companions and the limits of the person
35
Section III Social and psychological issues
57
Conversationalists and confidants
59
Towards an interactive conversational virtual Companion
143
A worldhybrid approach to a conversational Companion for reminiscing about images
157
Companionship is an emotional business
169
Artificial Companions in society
173
Requirements for Artificial Companions
179
You really need to know what your bots are thinking about you
201
Section V Special purpose Companions
209
A Companion for learning in everyday life
211

Robots should be slaves
63
Wanting the impossible
75
Falling in love with a Companion
89
Identifying your accompanist
95
Look emotion language and behavior in a believable virtual Companion
101
New Companions
107
On being a Victorian Companion
121
Building a Companion
129
The use of affective and attentive cues in an empathic computerbased Companions
131
The Maryland virtual patient as a taskoriented conversational Companion
221
Living with robots
245
Section VI Afterward
257
Summary and discussion of the issues
259
References
287
Index
309
The series Natural Language Processing
317
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