Eliana Bergamin

How Artificial Intelligence mediates moral emotions: an investigation on how the introduction of AI is modifying the development and definitions of moral emotions in healthcare

Erasmus University Rotterdam, Erasmus School of Social and Behavioural Sciences, Department AiPact, bergamin@essb.eur.nl

Supervisors: Dr Moniek Buijzen, Dr Iris Wallenburg


I obtained my Bachelor’s Degree in Philosophy at the University of Padua (Italy). My Bachelor’s thesis focused on the Philosophy of Technology. This sparked my interest in the field, therefore I decided to attend the Master’s degree in PSTS (Philosophy of Science, Technology, and Society) at the University of Twente (Netherlands). This degree allowed me to deepen my knowledge in the relationship between philosophical concepts and technological developments, while applying this to practical  and relevant societal matters.

My Master’s Degree was focused on Addiction by Design of Social Network Sites platforms, such as Instagram, TikTok, etc.

Summary PhD Project

This project aims at investigating how the introduction of Artificial Intelligence technology in the field of healthcare is changing the development and definitions of moral emotions and how should this change be approached in order to understand the role of AI in societal development. This connects to the way AI is modifying and mediating the moral engagement of human beings in the world (Roeser, 2018). My interest is particularly focused towards emotions such as empathy, sympathy, and compassion, which are central in the domain of healthcare. They are taken into consideration by Sabine Roeser as means to understand other perspectives through moral imagination (Roeser, 2018). The ethical approach that better fits this line of investigation is virtue ethics. It represents a fitted method to navigate the way emotions play a significant role in shaping and cultivating technomoral values and virtues. Once I’ll have defined my theoretical methodology, I will focus more specifically on the way the implementation of Artificial Intelligence is mediating moral emotions, as this mediation can sometimes go unnoticed. Can doctors and patients be sympathetic towards each other in scenarios where an algorithm — and not a human being — is making their diagnosis? What does this relationship imply for the concept of empathy itself? Can intelligent humanoid robots employed in healthcare express empathy towards patients? What does it mean to develop technologies that allow for emotional and affective enhancement? (Jensen, 2020). Through the analysis of this practical examples, merged with the theoretical investigation of mediated emotions, I aim at proposing a reconceptualization of moral emotions when it comes to the AI era we are living in.