Psychoanalyzing artifcial intelligence: the case of Replika

Authors: Luca M. Possati (2022)

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Abstract: The central thesis of this paper is that human unconscious processes infuence the behavior and design of artifcial intelligence (AI). This thesis is discussed through the case study of a chatbot called Replika, which intends to provide psychological assistance and friendship but has been accused of inciting murder and suicide. Replika originated from a trauma and a work of mourning lived by its creator. The traces of these unconscious dynamics can be detected in the design of the app and the narratives about it. Therefore, a process of de-psychologization and de-humanization of the unconscious takes place through AI. This psychosocial approach helps criticize and overcome the so-called “standard model of intelligence” shared by most AI researchers. It facilitates a new interpretation of some classic problems in AI, such as control and responsibility.

Presenter: Erik Derner

Date: 2022-06-16 15:00 (CEST)