Emilie St Hilaire is currently a doctoral candidate in the Humanities PhD program at Concordia University in Montreal, Canada. Her FRQSC-funded research examines the sub-cultural phenomenon of reborn dolls from a feminist perspective. Being one of few researchers studying this topic Emilie is regularly interviewed by journalists on the topic of reborn dolls. Her research has been cited in The Guardian (US), Le Temps (Switzerland), and Gehirn and Geist (Germany) and on NPR (US). Emilie's academic writing has been published in peer-reviewed journals including RACAR, and Le Journal International de Bioéthique. She is the author of a chapter in the book The Creation of iGiselle: Classical Ballet Meets Contemporary Video Games, edited by Nora Foster Stovel, published by the University of Alberta Press (2019).

Conference : Do social robots need bodies?
Saturday 7 may 2022, 10h45 - 11h30 — Amphi orange

The global Covid-19 pandemic has exacerbated the problem of isolation and loneliness. Artificially intelligent social robots have been developed over the past couple decades to assist individuals in need of companionship. This talk will present research demonstrating that there are already thousands of people around the world finding companionship through surrogate human figures in the form of dolls. The sensory experience and hyper-realism of silicone dolls contributes to their success at being brought to life through the imaginative perception of the doll owner. The emotions that develop from these synthetic relationships are real and fulfilling. This talk will describe how such positive affective states are achieved and will consider whether artificial intelligence is a detriment or a benefit to existing forms of synthetic relationships.

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