Content-type: text/html ~ Stephen's Web ~ Can machines have empathy and other emotions?

Stephen Downes

Knowledge, Learning, Community

Donald Clark is sure to raise hackles with this: "All too often we latch on to a noun in the learning world without thinking much about what it actually means, what experts in the field say about it and bandy it about as though it were a certain truth. But trying to induce emotion in the teaching and design process may not be not that relevant or only relevant to the degree that mimicing emotion may be enough." Indeed. But he is not wrong. His argument is essentially that appeals to emotion are based on "loose language" standing in for proper attention to data and signaling, which may well be as effetcively done by an AI as a human. It's also, I think, a short cut to argue that computers cannot be teachers because they lack emotion - this becomes clear when we ask just what it is, exactly, that they lack. Must they have the same feelings as a human? Or just the same response.

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Stephen Downes Stephen Downes, Casselman, Canada

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Last Updated: May 21, 2024 09:03 a.m.

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