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CHAPTER 4 - Conclusion

After two days of circling around the ephemeral notion of “artificial intimacy” the questions of why does it matter and what do we actually do started to coalesce. The outcomes of the discussion may not have settled on a final definition of “artificial intimacy” but we did settle on three key concepts: First, a working vocabulary and a unique set of lenses from which to explore human- machine interactions in the future. Second, the legitimacy of this field of research as a pervasive area of interest with significant impacts in the near horizon. Third, between the design aspects and the regulatory space, lies a sense of urgent obligation for leaders to think about what a good society looks like in an area where people’s emotional and intimate nature is being affected by the things we are creating. Taking artificial intimacy seriously, as Turkle advocated, means not just relegating it to a community of psychologists, but in expanding its utilization by others as a tool for informing the theoretical, individual, and social realms of the human-machine relationship.

So, what comes next?

If we move from the premise that we are already knee-deep in our integration with machines and our relationship with such objects are in a fluid state, then our job is to figure out how to elevate and propagate new modes of thinking and experimentation by a people from across all sectors—from creatives to entrepreneurs to technologists to philosophers to regulators. Artificial Intelligence can, and should, continue to be a philosophical, poetic and political laboratory. On the horizon, we look forward to moving a number of the ideas discussed—from exploring a #Westless technology future to democratizing empathy to surfacing additional positive metaphors for design. More importantly, our job is to cultivate leadership—whether in individuals or as institutions—that continues to challenge the bigger picture of the future of a good society.

Join us.

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