What is Essential to Being Human? Can AI Robots Not Share It?

The latest volume of the Post-human Society and the Future of Humanity book series has been published and is available for purchase from Routledge. Edited by Margaret Archer and Andrea Maccarini, this compilation of essays “asks whether there exists an essence exclusive to human beings despite their continuous enhancement – a nature that can serve to distinguish humans from artificially intelligent robots, now and in the foreseeable future.”

Considering what might qualify as such an essence, this volume demonstrates that the abstract question of ‘essentialism’ underpins a range of social issues that are too often considered in isolation and usually justify ‘robophobia’, rather than ‘robophilia’, in terms of morality, social relations and legal rights. Any defence of human exceptionalism requires clarity about what property(ies) ground it and an explanation of why these cannot be envisaged as being acquired (eventually) by AI robots. As such, an examination of the conceptual clarity of human essentialism and the role it plays in our thinking about dignity, citizenship, civil rights and moral worth is undertaken in this volume. What is Essential to Being Human? will appeal to scholars of social theory and philosophy with interests in human nature, ethics and artificial intelligence.

Chapters

1. Introduction – Margaret S. Archer and Andrea M. Maccarini

2. On Robophilia and Robophobia – Douglas V. Porpora

3. Sapience and Sentience: A Reply to Porpora – Margaret S. Archer

4. Relational Essentialism – Pierpaolo Donati

5. Artificial Intelligence: Sounds like a friend, looks like a friend, is it a friend? – Jamie Morgan

6. Growing Up in a World of Platforms: What Changes and What Doesn’t? – Mark Carrigan

7. On Macropolitics of Knowledge for Collective Learning in the Age of AI-Boosted Big Relational Tech – Emmanuel Lazega and Jaime Montes-Lihn

8. Can AIs do Politics? – Gazi Islam

9. Inhuman Enhancements? When Human Enhancements Alienate from Self, Others, Society and Nature – Ismael Al-Amoudi

10. The Social Meanings of Perfection: Human Self-Understanding in a Post-Human Society – Andrea M. Maccarini

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