Session 36, Technology: From Mere Tool to Active Partner


In this talk, I will delve into the framework I've been developing over the past two years regarding Human-Robot Relations (HRR), which I refer to as "Other-ware." This framework revolves around the idea that we perceive robots as something akin to others, or more precisely, pseudo-others.

My argument, in its simplified form, commences with a deconstructive perspective that challenges the traditional division between persons and things. Subsequently, this perspective allows me to posit that our interactions with robots, as well as AI systems like Chat GPT, can be viewed as engagements with an "Other." It's essential to note that the foundation of this entire argument is rooted in a phenomenological approach.

The main research areas on which I have been focused in the last four years are philosophy of perception and philosophy of technology. The primary method I have employed in both of these research lines is phenomenology. Therefore on the one hand in philosophy of perception, I am interested in an embodied / enactive approach that finds its roots in Husserl, Heidegger, and especially Maurice Merleau-Ponty. More specifically I have been focused on embodied social cognition and I have tried to defend phenomenological / embodied solutions for the problem of other minds against inferential approaches e.g. simulation theory and theoretical theory. On the other hand, I have worked on the phenomenological approach to the philosophy of technology and more specifically postphenomenology.

Speaker’s Biography: 

Before starting his Postdoc under Professor Norman Sieroka, Abootaleb has been focused on Philosophy of Mind and Cognition with special emphasis on Phenomenologically inspired perspectives and 4E cognition; Philosophy and Ethics of Technology with special emphasis on AI, HRI, and Social Networks.  He is currently working as a Philosophy Postdoc researcher in the Mars Exploration Project. A long-term project that aims to transfer humans to mars and settle them on this planet. His research develops a Neurophenomenological method to extract the first-person perspective of people in the context of tool use. Then he will employ it to re-design the tools.