PETAL: Planetary Ethics and Artificial Intelligence Lab is a humanities laboratory based at the Humanities Research Center at Duke Kunshan University. Co-directed by Daniel Lim and James Miller, the lab promotes research into the future of the humanities in the areas of planetary ethics and artificial intelligence. It hosts events and activities designed to enrich the intellectual life of the DKU campus, and trains students in humanistic research.
The lab’s main research question is: what does it mean to be human in an age of artificial intelligence and planetary civilization? This research question arises out of the conviction that traditional humanistic research must be reconfigured to take proper account of the planetary context from which human life has emerged, and to respond to the challenge of artificial intelligence. In one sense, this is an age-old question in the humanities: what is the difference between nature, people, and machines? But this question takes on new significance because of scientific and technological developments that are overturning ordinary conceptions about the uniqueness of human beings. Read more about the intellectual context and rationale for the lab’s research.
In addition to conducting research in these areas, the lab also has an exciting student fellowship program. Students receive a stipend, research training, and help design events related to the lab’s themes.
The lab will take place over the 2018-2019 academic year.