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Humanise: How we bring things to life

Tuesday 25 January 2022, 4.00PM to 5.00pm

Speaker(s): Professor Lasana Harris: UCL

In this talk I grapple with the moral and ethical implications of anthropomorphism, particularly in the context of environmentalism, AI and social robots, animal rights, and corporate law. I examine how viewing our planet, and geographical features such as lakes, mountains, and glaciers, as anthropomorphised agents might be used to encourage conservation before, and may backfire as natural disasters become more prevalent. I discuss how autonomous machines such as self-driving cars, and AI systems present challenges never imagined by legal thinkers centuries ago, resulting legal system not built to determine claims of intent, responsibility and culpability to technology. I explore the paradox of which animals to save and which to slaughter, and consider how cultural practices and human biology influences such decisions. I take on the problem of institutions as actors capable of moral behaviour, and discuss how they may be held accountable when their actions cause harm. Finally, I discuss how we can better humanise each other, considering every person as a full human being deserving of respect and dignity.

Location: Online Seminar - For further details, please contact