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CfP: The Realist Approach to AI

Margaret Archer’s prescient work highlighted vital questions about the possibilities for relationship and “friendship” between humans and AI systems. Though written before the rise of chatbots and other interactive AI, Archer’s late papers reveal remarkable insight into issues surrounding AI personhood, sociality, and relationality that remain highly relevant today. Our project seeks to spotlight Archer’s critical realist framework and engage leading thinkers to extend its application to contemporary AI capabilities and constraints.

Through a series of invited written responses by experts across disciplines, we will catalyze fresh examination and debate surrounding Archer’s core arguments on how AI systems might develop personhood and collective sociality. Authors will situate Archer’s theories in relation to present realities in AI, addressing issues ranging from algorithmic bias, transparency and ethics to possibilities for emergent AI consciousness and relationality. By advancing Archer’s pioneering perspective, this project aims to forge new theoretical tools to guide the responsible, socially grounded development of artificial intelligence in the years ahead. The curated volume will preserve Archer’s prescient contributions while testing their relevance against today’s most pressing AI challenges.

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