ethics and

ethics and

Ethics and Technological Futures brings together scholars, activists, and artists across disciplinary boundaries to engage with issues related technology and social justice—both critically and creatively. The Spring 2022 events focal themes include civic activism, digital rights, and freedom online. For dates, registration, and other details please follow the links to the right.

Robots, Love, and Sex: The Ethics of Building a Love Machine

John Sullins

Professor, Center for Ethics Law and Society, Sonoma State University

FEB 15 | 1 PM — 2 PM ET | TSRB 133 (Directions)

Hosted by Professor Dori Coblentz


Nassim Parvin, School of Literature, Media, and Communication, Georgia Tech

Each event is in collaboration with other units and people across Georgia Tech and beyond.


Aditya Anupam, Digital Media, Georgia Tech
Sylvia Janicki, Digital Media, Georgia Tech
Mohsin Yousufi, Digital Media, Georgia Tech


Digital Integrative Liberal Arts Center, Georgia Tech

Spring 2023 Speakers


Robots, Love, and Sex: The Ethics of Building a Love Machine

FEB 15 | 1 PM — 2 PM | TSRB 133 (Directions)

Robotics technologies are already impacting the ethical and moral landscape we live in. This talk examines the ethical impacts of the use of affective computing by engineers and roboticists who program their machines to mimic and manipulate human emotions in order to evoke loving or amorous reactions from their human users. The intersection of the philosophy of love and principles of machine ethics suggest a broader need to develop machines with ethical and moral practical wisdom, or what we will call artificial phronesis. Phronesis is a skill possessed by most adult humans, but as of yet no machine has the ability to think creatively, artfully, and effectively in solving novel ethical and moral problems as they arise. Many robots of our imagination display this skill, which shows that there is a desire to build such machines. This talk will conclude by exploring the boundaries of the kinds of systems to which "artificial phronesis" might apply.

John P. Sullins, (Ph.D., Binghamton University (SUNY), 2002) is a full professor of philosophy at Sonoma State University and the director of programing for the Sonoma State University Center for Ethics Law and Society (CELS). His specializations are: AI Ethics, philosophy of technology, philosophical issues of artificial intelligence/robotics, cognitive science, philosophy of science, engineering ethics, and computer ethics.

He is the Coauthor of the book Great Philosophical Objections to Artificial Intelligence: The History and Legacy of the AI Wars. He also has numerous publications on the ethics of autonomous weapons systems, self-driving cars, personal robotics, affective robotics, malware ethics, and the philosophy and ethics of information technologies as well as the design of autonomous ethical agents.

He is involved in occasional industry and government consultation involving ethical practices in technology design. He was the coauthor of IEEE Courses on Ethics and AI and Autonomous Systems as well as chairing the committee on Affective Computing for the IEEE “Ethically Aligned Design: A Vision for Prioritizing Human Well-being With Autonomous and Intelligent Systems” and co-chairs the IEEE Standards Committee P7008 - Standard for Ethically Driven Nudging for Robotic, Intelligent and Autonomous Systems. He also served as the Secretary and Treasurer of the Society for Philosophy and Technology for twenty-three years.

Dr. Sullins is the recipient of the 2011 Herbert A. Simon Award for Outstanding Research in Computing and Philosophy, which was awarded by the International Association for Computers and Philosophy.