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Nowadays, robots or artificial agents often only perform the specific task they have been programmed to do.

Will we be able to build an artificial intelligence that feels empathy, that understands the emotions and feelings of humans, and, based on that, act accordingly?

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  • $\begingroup$ A very related question (if not a duplicate): Could an AI feel emotions?. $\endgroup$ – nbro Apr 21 at 19:04
  • $\begingroup$ This could maybe be considered an extreme version of the value alignment problem. $\endgroup$ – Philip Raeisghasem Apr 21 at 19:17
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Let us describe a very simple system that does something we could label as empathyc.

A chatbot answers "I am sorry to hear that. What happened?" when we type "I feel bad", and it replies "I am glad to hear that. Fancy some music?" when we type "I feel good".

Somehow, it perceives a human emotion, and acts accordingly.

Planes fly but they do not fly as birds. Similarly, we can expect artificial empathy from an AI, not necessarily natural empathy as we feel it.

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  • $\begingroup$ So it is a duck if it quacks? $\endgroup$ – DuttaA Apr 22 at 6:05
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    $\begingroup$ Does it quack naturally or artificially? $\endgroup$ – Jaume Oliver Lafont Apr 22 at 6:13
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    $\begingroup$ Is it a bird if it flies? $\endgroup$ – Jaume Oliver Lafont Apr 22 at 6:22
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    $\begingroup$ Planes fly artificially and birds fly naturally. For an AI to feel empathy, it seems we need to imagine what feeling empathy artificially is. $\endgroup$ – Jaume Oliver Lafont Apr 22 at 6:32
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    $\begingroup$ I don't know about that but your answer has 2 open ended questions which is not the SE standard. $\endgroup$ – DuttaA Apr 22 at 6:37

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