CFP: Ethics, Robotics, and AI in Fiction

Submission deadline: November 23, 2022

Topic areas


Call for Abstracts

Ethics, Robotics, and AI in Fiction

Edited by Brooke Rudrow and George A. Dunn

(Please circulate widely)

We invite abstract submissions for a volume on questions that arise in works of fiction concerning the ethics of robots and artificial intelligence, as part of the Ethics and Culture series from McFarland Press. For our purposes, ethics is broadly defined to include all aspects of normative theory, including political philosophy, critical social theory, value theory, metaethics, rational choice theory, and even aesthetics. The types of fictional media that may be interrogated include novels (including graphic novels), short stories, comics, movies, television, theatre, dramatic poetry, and even games. Finally, robotics and AI encompass, but are not limited to, such things as cyborgs, androids, social robots, and even AI with no obvious physical form, as well as the more mundane phenomena of robots and other autonomous systems that perform a variety of complex tasks once thought to be the exclusive prerogative of human beings.

We anticipate this volume being used in undergraduate classrooms and appealing to an educated audience that has an interest in these issues but may not have a specialized academic background. We desire abstracts and essays that are philosophically substantial but accessible to the intelligent lay reader. Our aim is to use fiction to approach some of the real-world issues concerning robotics and AI that we either are facing now or could face in the foreseeable future.

Possible themes and topics include, but aren’t limited to:

The moral status of artificially intelligent entities: can machines be persons?

Robots and AI as moral agents and moral patients

The Westworld problem: the morality of mistreating non-sentient humanoid robots

Turing tests and strong AI—is it even possible?

Knowing you better than you know yourself: AI and surveillance capitalism

Racist machines: AI and programming bias

The threat/promise of algocracy: can machines govern us better than we can govern ourselves?

Rehoboam is watching you: AI, predictability, and human freedom

Opacity and control: can we trust AI to make decisions for us?

AI and gender: can a machine have a sex?

Social robots and artificial friendship

Sexbots—Can they consent? Can they be raped?

Asimov’s “The Three Laws of Robotics”

Robotics and moral choice: can ethics be algorithmicized?

Responsible use, responsible design: the need for a “code of ethics” in robotics and AI research

Social robots, artificial empathy, and our propensity to anthropomorphize

Automation and robots as slaves

The WALL-E problem: robotics, leisure, and lassitude

The effects of automation on human conviviality

Deus ex machina: robotics, AI, and religion

Abstracts should be 100-500 words in length. Final essays should be around 6,000 words.

Send your abstract, along with your CV, to George Dunn and Brooke Rudow at [email protected] by November 23, 2022.

We are also planning a panel on Ethics, Robotics, and AI in Fiction at the 2023 Popular Culture Association National Conference in early April. If you would like to be considered for this panel, contact Jim Okapal at [email protected]

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