Conference: CEPE/Ethicomp 2017
Usually held separately, this year CEPE and Ethicomp teamed up to deliver an outstanding conference at the University of Turin. While the Ethicomp crowd is a wild and wonderful mix of philosophers, technologists, ethicists and people from all sorts of backgrounds, presenting on a variety of themes and topics, often centered around practical and quantitative matters CEPE is generally more geared towards the hardcore philosopher and a lot more theoretical. Accordingly, CEPE/Ethicomp 2017 featured a nice mix of theory and practice within its many tracks. During the four days of conference, speakers had the opportunity to speak for 20 full minutes, followed by 10 minutes of discussion, which is a format I really enjoy. Ample time to outline your argument in depth and sufficient time to address at least a couple of good questions. In fact, I so enjoyed the conference and community that I have put my name forward for election to the steering committee and am hopeful to be elected.
Alongside my co-author, Vivian Wenli Lin, I presented a paper titled “Sex Robots Revisited — A Reply to the Call for a Ban”, in which we challenge some of the arguments and premises presented by the Campaign Against Sex Robots (CASR), spearheaded by Kathleen Richardson. The paper, which will be published in an ACM SIGCAS special newsletter, as well as the journal Orbit, was very well received and may result in various follow-up collaborations, including, potentially, quantitative research into the impact of sex robots on the sex work industry.
While the conference featured numerous very interesting presentations, my pick for the most notable presentation goes to Erica Neely’s “No player is ideal: Why video game designers cannot ethically ignore players’ real-world identities” which featured some very convincing arguments for gender and identity-neutral game design (i.e. if an in-game armor is ridiculously sexual on a female avatar, then it should also be ridiculously sexual on a male counterpart).