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Couch Lesson: AI + Intimacy

A computer only needs to have a few of the characteristics normally associated with persons to enable its human counterpart to establish a relationship with it. In recent years, artificial intelligence has made interactions with machines feel increasingly natural. Through machine learning, face and speech recognition, devices and systems can recognise, interpret and respond to emotions, creating an experience of closeness that reaches into the most intimate areas. Research terms this affective computing. Technological developments are turning computers into personal assistants, friends and even partners. Together with experts, we will explore the various areas of human-machine interaction and examine whether something like empathic AI (already) exists.

What you will learn:
• Can AI empathise with us?
• What risks are associated with affective computing?
• Do current AI systems reflect conservative gender roles and stereotypes?


Kate Devlin, Senior Lecturer in Social and Cultural Artificial Intelligence, King’s College London

Sophie Kleber, UX Designer, Google

To overview