Agora Lecture (13 Aug. 2013) – Timo Airaksinen: Robot Desires

March 15, 2013 § Leave a comment

This lecture on “Robot Desires” discusses the place of needs and desires in the robotic world, asking what do we really want from our robots? Unlike cyborgs, it is unlikely that robots themselves would ever have desires. Cyborgs have desires because humans have desires. The lecture distinguishes between a broad and a specialised notion of cyborgs, so that the former incorporates parts of our techno-environment, as in the example of a modern airport. What happens to human desires in that kind of an environment? We also need to ask whether a perfect cyborg is without desires. Are desires marks of human imperfection, as many philosophies and religions have argued? If we answer in the affirmative, then in this sense, robots are perfect.Timo Airaksinen

Timo Airaksinen (Ph.D. 1975, University of Turku) has been a full Professor of Philosophy, University of Helsinki, since 1981. He has published 350 articles and 20 books on a wide variety of topics, including the philosophy of technology, philosophical psychology, epistemology, the history of philosophy, and the philosophy of literature. He has visited many universities around the world, including for longer periods in Pittsburgh,Warsaw, Tokyo, Hamburg, and Cambridge, UK. Many of his research projects have been funded by Tekes – the Finnish Funding Agency for Technology and Innovation. His current project, also funded by Tekes, is “The Calculus of Desire”.


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