On the Possibility of Robots Having Emotions


I argue against the commonly held intuition that robots and virtual agents will never have emotions by contending robots can have emotions in a sense that is functionally similar to humans, even if the robots' emotions are not exactly equivalent to those of humans. To establish a foundation for assessing the robots' emotional capacities, I first define what emotions are by characterizing the components of emotion consistent across emotion theories. Second, I dissect the affective-cognitive architecture of MIT's Kismet and Leonardo, two robots explicitly designed to express emotions and to interact with humans, in order to explore whether they have emotions. I argue that, although Kismet and Leonardo lack the subjective feelings component of emotion, they are capable of having emotions.



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Cameron Hamilton
Georgia State University

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Minds, brains, and programs.John Searle - 1980 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 3 (3):417-57.
The Emotions.Nico H. Frijda - 1986 - Cambridge University Press.
The Emotions: A Philosophical Exploration.Peter Goldie - 2000 - Oxford, GB: Oxford University Press.

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