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Exploring AI and Socratic Chatbots at the University of Crete

Updated: Jun 20

On Wednesday, May 15, a hybrid conference titled "Chatbots in the Room: Challenges and Prospects in the Age of Artificial Intelligence" was organized by the Institute of Philosophy and Technology (IPT) of the University of Crete, in collaboration with the Center for Greek and Chinese Studies (ΚΕΛΚΙΠ). This insightful event brought together experts to discuss the various facets of artificial intelligence technology. For more information, you can visit the event link.

Title slide for the TITAN presentation
Screen grab from 'Chatbots in the Room' hybrid event

The conference featured a diverse lineup of speakers who explored both the challenges and opportunities presented by AI. They delved into how AI can be harnessed and the ethical implications of its deployment. Details and abstracts from the conference are available here.

Highlights from the Chatbots Conference

Socratic Chatbots as a Response to Disinformation

A highlight of the event was a talk by Professor Giannis Stamatellos, a partner in the TITAN project. His presentation, titled "Socratic Chatbots as a Response to Disinformation," showcased the innovative use of Socratic methods in dialogic AI applications. This approach aims to empower citizens to critically evaluate the reliability of information and combat the spread of fake news. Stamatellos, Ph.D. in Philosophy from the University of Wales and founder of the Institute of Philosophy and Technology, presented the ongoing European Union research program TITAN. This program seeks to enhance citizens' critical thinking through Socratic-type dialogues, helping them form their own conclusions about the reliability of information and effectively deal with fake news.

Learning from Confucius: Chatbots in Education

Continuing the theme of ancient philosophical traditions, Dimitra Amarantidou, Professor of Philosophy at the University of Macau, delivered a presentation titled "What Chatbots Learn from Confucius, What Confucius Learns from Chatbots." She maintained a critical distance from both techno-optimism and technophobia, discussing the challenges of using chatbots in education through the lens of Confucian ethical philosophy.

From Artificial Intelligence to Artificial Creativity

Nikos Erinakis, Assistant Professor in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Crete, explored how recent technological developments in artificial intelligence could lead us to a unique turning point in human history in his presentation titled "From Artificial Intelligence to Artificial Creativity." He emphasized the impressive capabilities of emerging digital technologies, which already seem to operate in ways and with consequences that we cannot fully comprehend. Erinakis focused on the transition from machine learning to deep and/or substantive learning, discussing the contemporary debate on the possible transition towards artificial general intelligence and/or artificial creativity. This includes the potential for AI systems to self-transform and autonomously produce creative and authentic works or participate in other creative activities.

AI in Literature and Art

Manolis Simos, a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Crete, discussed the relationships between literature, art, and artificial intelligence in his presentation titled "Literature, Art, and Artificial Intelligence: Some Historical Observations." He focused on the creation of literary and artistic works by AI systems, using examples such as Raymond Queneau's book "Cent mille milliards de poèmes" and Joachim Sauter's digital interactive installation "Zerseher" (1992).

This conference marked a significant step in understanding and utilising AI for societal benefit, highlighting the potential of Socratic chatbots in fostering informed and discerning communities. For those who missed the live event, a video recording of the conference is available here, and all the presentations from the conference are available on the website of the Institute of Philosophy and Technology: Please note that the presentations are in Greek.

Chabots in the Room - Poster
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