17.441 Public lecture at King's College London, 11 December

From: Humanist Discussion Group (by way of Willard McCarty willard.mccarty@kcl.ac.uk)
Date: Wed Dec 10 2003 - 05:24:43 EST

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                   Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 17, No. 441.
           Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London
                         Submit to: humanist@princeton.edu

             Date: Wed, 10 Dec 2003 10:12:43 +0000
             From: MADCT <madct@kcl.ac.uk>
             Subject: Digital Scholarship, Digital Culture

    You are invited to a public lecture in the series:


    Yorick Wilks, (Professor of Computer Science, University of Sheffield)
    'Companions: Explorations in Machine Personality'

    What kind and level of personality should be in a machine agent so as to be
    acceptable to a human user, more particularly to one who may fear
    technology and have no experience of it? The Tamagotchi phenomenon showed
    that a simple, indeed trivial, machine could cause millions to treat it as
    if it had a personality and to feel guilty if they failed to "feed" it. The
    core of this question is the psychology of the attribution of human
    characteristics to artefacts, a quite different matter from the
    philosophical question of whether artefacts can reasonably be said to
    possess such properties.

    What levels of responsibility and legal attribution for responsibility can
    we expect or desire from entities like web agents in the near future? We
    might well soon find the courts deciding that a machine could be
    responsible, to a limited degree, in the sense that a domestic animal can
    be responsible for its behaviour, whereas ferae naturae, like tigers, never
    are in common law, no matter what they do, and only their owners remain
    responsible for their acts. Dogs have some form of character in law, good
    or bad, and it may become possible, or even necessary, to view the actions
    of Companions in this way before very long.

    17.30 Thursday 11th December 2003
    Arthur & Paula Lucas Lecture Theatre (Room 2B18)
    Strand Building, Strand Campus
    King's College London

    All are invited to a reception following the lecture

    Further information regarding this lecture series can be found at -

    Centre for Computing in the Humanities, Room 11bb,
    King's College London, Strand, London WC2R 2LS
    Tel: +44 20 7848 2371
    Fax: +44 20 7848 2980

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