Workshop on November 11, 2016

Plants and Robots. New Directions in Relational Ethics

9-19h, HS 3C, NIG, Universitätsstr. 7, 1010 Vienna

Ongoing developments in robotics and plant sciences put pressure on traditional dichotomies like biology/technology, natural/artificial, living/non-living, autonomic/automatic. The blurring of these categories generates new ontological and ethical questions.

Are plants and robots two categorically different phenomena? How are we to think of new possibilities like robotic ecosystems, robot plants, and the networking of non-human intelligences? And how are we to choose, act, and live virtuously when confronting such novelties?

In this workshop, we explore relational accounts as promising ways to cross established borders, re-elaborate distinctions and possibly build new philosophical bridges. We do so by discussing new ways of looking at, thinking about, and engaging and dealing with plants and robots from different perspectives in philosophy, robotics, and art.





Mark Coeckelbergh: What is a relational ethics?

Angela Kallhoff: Affordances and vulnerabilities of plants and robots

Barbara Mazzolai: Robots as plants: they grow, perceive and communicate

Roundtable I
Michael Funk: Robotic eden vs. human labour? Drones in agriculture and urban gardening

Marcello Di Paola & Markus Jeschaunig, Lisa Maria Enzenhofer, Bernhard Koenig: Synergetic green cities

Roundtable II
Maria Schörgenhumer: Garden robots, plants, and the notion of care

Janina Loh: Relational anthropology between human, plants, and machines

Clemens Driessen: Some lessons for plants from the advent of the milking robot: queering the farm with ecofeminist robotics. Or, how to be a farmer when agriculture is a massive multiplayer online game

Angelo Vermeulen: Living computers and evolving starships: prototyping interspecies collaboration



All talks are followed by a discussion.