Machine Love and Human Flourishing

Sapporo, Hokkaido, 31 July, 2023

As Machine Learning (ML) technologies continue to advance at an unprecedented pace, there is an increasing recognition of their potential to both facilitate and harm human flourishing. This raises the pressing question of how we can develop and introduce ML systems that promote human flourishing without causing harm. One recent solution proposed by Joel Lehman (2023) is to imbue ML systems with love.

The question remains: Can machines truly exhibit love? To what degree can this approach enhance human flourishing? During this workshop, we will delve into these questions in a transdisciplinary dialogue merging the scientific and engineering fields with insights from the humanities, including philosophy, ethics, law, and society.

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This workshop is supported by the Toyota Foundation funded project "Pioneering Artificial Subject Studies: A New Framework for Advancing Interdisciplinary Studies on the Ideal Form of the Co-Existence Between Human Beings and Artificial Subjects” (D21-ST-0012).

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  • 14:30 Opening remarks
  • 14:45 Keynote lecture: Joel Lehman on Machine Love
  • 15:30 Commentary: Yu Nishitsutsumi
  • 15:45 Question writing, raising, and posting
  • 16:00 Coffee break
  • 16:20 Open panel discussion
  • 17:20 Closing remarks
  • *All times in JST


Joel Lehman, ML Researcher
Founding member of Uber AI Labs, employee #1 at Geometric Intelligence (acquired by Uber) and former assistant professor at IT University of Copenhagen, Joel is a Machine Learning researcher focused on AI safety, reinforcement learning, and creative open-ended search algorithms.

Yu Nishitsutsumi, CiNet
Researcher at the Center for Information and Neural Networks, Yu delves into the philosophical and ethical dimensions of emerging technologies, with a particular focus on Ethical, Legal, and Social Issues (ELSI). Yu explores topics such as self-control, rationality, and moral responsibility, incorporating insights from cognitive sciences like psychology and neuroscience.


Katsunori Miyahara
A Hokkaido University, Specially Appointed Lecturer at CHAIN, Katsunori focuses his research on the philosophy of cognitive science and the philosophy/ethics of AI. He investigates the relationship between embodiment and cognition, utilizing enactive philosophy, phenomenology, and classic Japanese thoughts.

Olaf Witkowski
Olaf is a Founding Director at Cross Labs, Executive Officer at Cross Compass Ltd. in Tokyo, President of the International Society for Artificial Life, Lecturer at the University of Tokyo, Researcher at the Tokyo Institute of Technology and Co-founder of ventures worldwide, including YHouse Inc. and the Center for the Study of Apparent Selves.

Olaf Witkowski, PhD


W409, Humanities and Social Sciences Classroom Building, Hokkaido University, Japan

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