Workshop 2 (Panel): Getting comfortable with robots: Artificial phronesis, inner speech, and sociomorphing


Robin Zebrowski, Beloit College in Wisconsin, USA

Robin L. Zebrowski is Professor and Chair of Cognitive Science at Beloit College in Wisconsin, USA. She holds a joint appointment in Philosophy, Psychology, and Computer Science. Her work focuses on 4E cognition in relation to artificial intelligence and cyborg technologies, with an increasing focus on social cognition. Her most recent work involves reconciling the problems of anthropomorphism in humanoid robotics with enactive and embodied theories of mind, as well as understanding the role and possibility of technology-mediated interactions within enactive social cognition. 

Anthony Chella, University of Palermo, Italy

Antonio Chella is a Professor of Robotics at the University of Palermo, Italy, and the Director of the Robotics Lab at the Department of Engineering of the same University. He is an honorary professor at the University of Manchester, UK, and an associate researcher at ICAR-CNR, Italy. Prof. Chella's primary research expertise concerns machine consciousness, artificial intelligence, and cognitive robotics. He is a fellow of the Italian National Academy of Science, Humanities, and Arts. He received the James S. Albus Medal award from the Biologically Inspired Cognitive Architectures (BICA) Society. He is a founder and editor-in-chief of the Journal of Artificial Intelligence and Consciousness and the Book Series on Machine Consciousness by World Scientific.

Eli McGraw, Indiana University at Bloomington, USA

Eli McGraw is a dual PhD student in Indiana University Bloomington’s Luddy School of Informatics and the Cognitive Science program. Specializing in non-human consciousness, enactive social cognition, and robotics, Eli conducts the majority of his research through the Human-Robot Interaction and Animal Informatics labs. He is interested in bridging gaps between animal cognition, artificial intelligence, embodiment, and human sociality. Eli is an active member of both the newly formed student-led lucid dreaming lab and the experimental humanities lab, where he explores inner speech and subjective experience. 

John Sullins, Sonoma State University, USA

John Sullins specializes in the philosophy of science and technology.  Prof. Sullins advises in the Science and Technology Ethics concentration.  In recent years, Prof. Sullins' publications include multiple peer-reviewed publications in academic journals, book chapters, and proceedings as well as the book, The Great Philosophical Objections to Artificial Intelligence: The History and Legacy of the AI Wars, (Co-authors: Eric Dietrich, Chris Fields, Bram Van Heuveln, and  Robin Zebrowski), Bloomsbury Academic Press, January 2021, 2nd edition forthcoming in 2024. 

Shannon Vallor, University of Edinburgh, Scotland

Shannon Vallor is the Baillie Gifford Professor in the Ethics of Data and Artificial Intelligence in the University of Edinburgh’s Department of Philosophy. She directs the Centre for Technomoral Futures in the Edinburgh Futures Institute, and is co-Director of the UKRI BRAID (Bridging Responsible AI Divides) research programme. Professor Vallor's research explores the ethical challenges and opportunities posed by new uses of data and AI, and how these technologies reshape human moral and intellectual character. She is a former AI Ethicist at Google, and advises numerous academic, government and industry bodies on the ethical design and use of AI. She is the author of Technology and the Virtues: A Philosophical Guide to a Future Worth Wanting (Oxford University Press, 2016), and The AI Mirror (Oxford University Press, 2024). 


This panel, consisting of John Sullins, Robin Zebrowski, Antonio Chella, Eli McGraw, and Shannon Vallor will engage in questions around the role of sociomorphing and artificial phronesis in interpreting human-robot interactions, the ways that access to a robot’s inner speech allows for more ethical interactions and more accurate understanding of those interactions, and the role that these considerations have in XAI, ethical AI, and embodied social cognition in particular. We will also use this case study to discuss the OASIS framework offered by Seibt et al. in which sociomorphing is embedded, in order to see how the ethical stance of artificial phronesis invites more nuance into the social interaction, moving beyond mere simulation into enaction. Each speaker will be given a slot of time to present opening remarks that include questions related to how these topics come together and illuminate or challenge the various theoretical commitments being put into conversation. In addition to each speaker presenting a brief discussion of their topic, all panelists will be in conversation among themselves and with the audience.