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Displaying: 21-40 of 524 documents

21. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 27 > Issue: 1
Beth Preston Technology and Human Agency: Sustainable Technology as Microcosm
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Sustainable technology is a microcosm that illuminates the relationship between technology and human agency. We tend to think about sustainability in terms of the properties of things. However, technology is not just things but techniques which have their own bearing on sustainability, for users may employ sustainable technologies in unsustainable ways. Clueless or stymied users may be managed through education or redesign; however, there are intractable users who cannot be managed through either approach. I trace the cause of this intractability to interaction between the improvisational nature of human agency and the multiple realizability of artifact functions. I argue that managing intractable users requires going with the flow of their relationship to technology rather than trying to control it through education or redesign, and that democratizing the development and distribution of technology is the best way to do this. Finally, these results easily generalize to technologies not aimed at sustainability.
book review
22. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 27 > Issue: 1
Jesse Josua Benjamin Gathering Design and Its Center(s)
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23. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 26 > Issue: 3
Oliver Alexander Tafdrup Sociotechnical Eudaimonia in a Digital Future: Transhumanistic Virtues and Imaginaries of Human Perfectibility in the Danish Technology Education Discourse
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Through a discourse analysis of core documents related to the development of a new primary school subject titled technology comprehension (TC), this article explores how sociotechnical imaginaries of (trans)human perfectibility are promoted in technology education in Denmark. Based on the idea that transhumanism can be understood as a type of eudemonistic virtue ethics, I argue that TC is shaped by the idea that the purpose of technology education is to prepare pupils for the coming of a future characterised by a profound digital transformation of society and human existence through the cultivation of ‘transhuman virtues’ related to normative—and politically produced—ideas of human perfectibility or, in other words, a sociotechnical eudaimonia. I identify two types of transhuman imaginaries, and thus two versions of sociotechnical eudaimonia, in the discourse of TC: 1) the imaginary of technological extension and 2) the imaginary of technological adaptation.
24. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 26 > Issue: 3
Dakota Root A Merleau-Pontian Account of Embodied Coping in Virtual Reality
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Virtual reality (VR) offers a simulated environment where users can interact directly with their surroundings and provokes questions about embodiment and disconnection. This article will demonstrate how VR’s unique embodiment features differentiate it from the experience of non-VR online and video games and allow the transfer of movement and first-person perspective into the ‘gamespace.’ Drawing upon Merleau-Ponty’s concept of embodiment, I will argue that 1) VR is a coping experience, and 2) the VR environment becomes the world of our engagement. This understanding of the VR experience allows us to reassess this technology, showing how it uses bodily action and perception to open up new digitally-mediated possibilities for connection.
25. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 26 > Issue: 3
Corinne Cath, Fieke Jansen Dutch Comfort: The Limits of AI Governance through Municipal Registers
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In this commentary, we respond to the editorial letter by Professor Luciano Floridi entitled “AI as a public service: Learning from Amsterdam and Helsinki.” Here, Floridi considers the positive impact of municipal AI registers, which collect a limited number of algorithmic systems used by the city of Amsterdam and Helsinki. We question a number of assumptions about AI registers as a governance model for automated systems. We start with recent attempts to normalize AI by decontextualizing and depoliticizing it, which is a fraught political project that encourages what we call ‘ethics theater’ given the proven dangers of using these systems in the context of the digital welfare state. We agree with Floridi that much can be learned from these registers about the role of AI systems in municipal city management. The lessons we draw, on the basis of our extensive ethnographic engagement with digital wellfare states, are distinctly less optimistic.
26. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 26 > Issue: 3
Martin Peterson What Do Technical Functions Supervene On?
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According to the dual nature thesis, technical artifacts have a dual nature: they are material objects that have a material base, but also functions that depend on their intentional history, in particular their intended and actual use. In an influential paper, Houkes and Meijers argue that the dual nature thesis does not square well with the seemingly plausible idea that the function of a technological artifact supervenes on its material base. They correctly point out that many versions of the supervenience thesis are unable to account for the following two-way underdetermination condition: “an artefact type, as a functional type, is multiply realizable in material structures or systems, while a given material basis can realize a variety of functions” (Houkes and Meijers 2006, 120). In this paper, I articulate a supervenience thesis that is compatible with the two-way underdetermination condition.
27. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 26 > Issue: 3
Vincent Blok Technology as Mimesis: Biomimicry as Regenerative Sustainable Design, Engineering, and Technology
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In this article, we investigate how to explain the difference between traditional design, engineering, and technology—which have exploited nature and put increasing pressure on Earth’s carrying capacity since the industrial revolution—and biomimetic design—which claims to explore nature’s sustainable solutions and promises to be regenerative by design. We reflect on the concept of mimesis. Mimesis assumes a continuity between the natural environment as a regenerative model and measure for sustainable design that is imitated and reproduced in biomimetic design, engineering, and technology. We conceptualize mimesis in terms of two interdependent boundary conditions: differentiation and participation. We subsequently develop four characteristics of biomimicry as regenerative design, engineering, and technology: technological mimesis is 1) a participative differentiation of nature; 2) supplemental to natural mimesis in biomimetic design; 3) the participative differentiation of technological mimesis is constitutive of nature; 4) the participative differentiation of technological mimesis is always limited.
28. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 26 > Issue: 3
Jessica Ludescher Imanaka The Psychopolitics of Cognitive Enhancement: The Long Transhuman Shadow
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This article explores the shadow side of transhumanist aspirations to transform humanity using cognitive enhancement technologies (CET). The central problem concerns how the desired transhuman anthropogenesis alters the ethical capacities of the human person. Focusing on the intersection between autonomy and equity, the article posits that inequity enhances individual autonomy for some at the expense of others, hence degrading collective autonomy. This process is already unfolding under neoliberalism, as analyzed via Byung-Chul Han’s theory of psychopolitics. Han’s psychopolitics reveals how the imagined increases in autonomy brought by CET would not yield an authentic enhancement of autonomy, but rather result in further undesirable permutations of humanity. It would erode autonomy while increasing inequity, thus degrading empathy and solidarity. Franco Berardi’s critique of semiocapitalism nuances Han’s theory in support of collective autonomy and an anthropogenesis guided by contemplative empathy. Conjoined, they amplify the possibilities for alternative therapeutic forms of transformational CET.
29. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 26 > Issue: 3
Rockwell F. Clancy Global Engineering Ethics at the University of Michigan-Shanghai Jiao Tong University Joint Institute (China): Research and Teaching in Cross-cultural, International Contexts
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Engineering is more cross-cultural and international than ever before, presenting challenges and opportunities in the way engineering ethics is conceived and delivered. To assist in providing more effective ethics education to increasingly diverse groups, this paper shares three related projects implemented at the University of Michigan-Shanghai Jiao Tong University Joint Institute (China). These projects are united in their attempts to address challenges arising from the increasingly global nature of engineering. The first is a course on global engineering ethics, developed for and attended by engineering students from diverse backgrounds. The second is a website hosting contents on global engineering ethics education and conducting research related to cross-cultural moral psychology. The third explores methods of assessing engineering ethics and moral development, using paradigms of ethical decision-making. Although these projects were developed in a Chinese-US collaboration with university students, these contexts could facilitate the adoption of similar programs elsewhere, with practicing engineers.
special section on technology and pandemic
30. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 26 > Issue: 3
Jurgita Imbrasaite Acting-with: On the Development of a Public Realm on TikTok during the Pandemic and its Potential to Enable Action
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The pandemic and subsequent wave of lockdowns in many countries led to a massive increase in TikTok users globally, boosting the platform’s public significance. Even if TikTok’s political potential is already established, the platform still lacks a theoretical underpinning as a space for action. Using both a political-philosophical as well as a techno-philosophical perspective, I seek to discuss and substantiate TikTok’s potential as a public realm that enables political action. Due to the unique algorithmic logic of this app, I argue that users are acting-with the algorithm when engaging in political action from home: be it in the form of national political protest or international acts of care and empowerment. I base my analysis on philosophical theory, cross-disciplinary TikTok research, and my own experiences on TikTok during the pandemic years.
book reviews
31. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 26 > Issue: 3
Natalie Haziza Transmitted Traces: Amit Pinchevski’s Transmitted Wounds
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32. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 26 > Issue: 3
Felicia S. Jing Our Digital Agora: Politics Without Privacy
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33. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 26 > Issue: 2
Johanna Seifert, Orsolya Friedrich, Sebastian Schleidgen On Humans and Machines: Anthropological Considerations on “Intelligent” Neurotechnologies (INTs)
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In the present article we examine the anthropological implications of “intelligent” neurotechnologies (INTs). For this purpose, we first give an introduction to current developments of INTs by specifying their central characteristics. We then present and discuss traditional anthropological concepts such as the “homo faber,” the concept of humans as “deficient beings,” and the concept of the “cyborg,” questioning their descriptive relevance regarding current neurotechnological applications. To this end, we relate these anthropological concepts to the characteristics of INTs elaborated before. As we show, the explanatory validity of the anthropological concepts analyzed in this article vary significantly. While the concept of the homo faber, for instance, is not capable of adequately describing the anthropological implications of new INTs, the cyborg proves to be capable of grasping several aspects of today’s neurotechnologies. Nevertheless, alternative explanatory models are needed in order to capture the new characteristics of INTs in their full complexity.
34. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 26 > Issue: 2
Joel Bock Overcoming Simondonian Alienation: A Critique of the Dichotomy between the Psycho-physical and the Politico-economic
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This paper engages in an interpretation and critique of Simondon’s approach to technical objects through his concept of alienation. I begin with his argument for why the fundamental source of alienation is “psycho-physical” and explain his critique of politico-economic analyses of alienation. I then explain his proposal for reducing alienation by rethinking work as “technical activity.” I then argue that while Simondon’s analyses of the internal functionality of technical objects provide important contributions to the philosophy of technology, he also overemphasizes the psycho-physical and in turn underestimates the role of politico-economic factors in the ontogenesis of technical objects and production of alienation. Both the psycho-physical and politico-economic, I claim, must be thought together as necessarily interconnected conditions of the ontogenesis of technical objects. On that basis, it becomes possible to engage in philosophical critique of and education about the inner functionality of contemporary technologies and their accompanying risks.
35. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 26 > Issue: 2
Abigail Nieves Delgado, Laura Kocksch Privacy in Social Media: A Perspective from the Logic of Care
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Privacy loss is one of the primary issues associated with the use of social media or social network sites. These sites operate by collecting and sharing data from users to obtain economic revenue. As a solution, it is recommended that users be informed about safe online practices and that they should behave accordingly. However, this does not usually happen, which makes privacy regulations ineffective. We argue that a top-down, control-focused approach to privacy, such as that found in the European Commission’s recent General Data Protection Regulation, does not capture the way online practices unfold and fails to prevent privacy issues. Instead, we frame privacy using the concept of the “logic of care,” an approach that promotes a situated analysis of online practices and of the diverse actors involved (users, companies, regulators, etc.). This shift favors the creation of safer interactions on social network sites instead of restrictive regulations.
36. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 26 > Issue: 2
Ehsan Arzroomchilar “Structural Ethics” as a Framework to Study the Moral Role of Non-Humans
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A challenging issue within the philosophy of technology is the moral relevancy of artifacts. While many philosophers agree that artifacts have moral significance, there are numerous positions on how moral relevancy ought to be understood, ranging from scholars who argue that there is no room for artifacts in moral debates to those who argue for the moral agency of artifacts. In this paper, I attempt to avoid extreme positions; accordingly, I reject both the neutrality thesis and the moral agency of artifacts thesis. Instead, I propose finding a compromise for describing their moral role. In doing so, I take Philip Brey’s idea of developing a new framework, called ‘Structural Ethics,’ as my point of departure. Although the structural ethics proposed by Brey needs some revisions, it may serve as a proper metaethical theory to account for the role of non-humans.
37. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 26 > Issue: 2
Karolina Kudlek Challenges in the Human Enhancement Debate: A Critical Review
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The discussion about human enhancement technologies has primarily focused on exchanging views about the dangers and benefits of these interventions. However, the debate could benefit from a systematic attempt to move beyond pro et contra exchange. Thus, in this paper, I analyze key issues in the human enhancement debate, and I outline a set of methodological guidelines that could help to progress future research. I propose that we should pay special attention to the following conditions: (i) whether a particular enhancement project is plausibly coherent, feasible, and effective; (ii) whether it conflicts with fundamental moral values and norms; and (iii) whether it is compatible with or promotes socio-political goals of equality and justice. This approach should help us minimize normative ambiguity and facilitate the moral assessment of different enhancements and their particular applications.
38. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 26 > Issue: 2
Steven Gamboa Google-car's Extended Mind
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While the value of the extended mind hypothesis for human cognition is disputed, this paper examines the explanatory utility of the extended mind framework in the domain of AI systems, specifically the Google self-driving car. I argue that the cognitive architecture of the Google-car is best explained as an instance of extended cognition. The argument for this claim begins with a description of the Google-car’s cognitive architecture, including the indispensable role of “prior maps” in its performance. I then argue that the hypothesis of extended cognition provides a better explanation of the Google-car’s performance than two rival, non-extended alternatives. Consideration of the Google-car also offers insight into whether driverless vehicles have achieved human-level competency in the cognitive skills required for driving, or instead remain “poor substitutes.”
book review
39. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 26 > Issue: 2
Martin Ritter Freedom in the Age of Climate Change: Review of Green Leviathan or the Poetics of Political Liberty: Navigating Freedom in the Age of Climate Change and Artificial Intelligence, by Mark Coeckelbergh
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40. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 26 > Issue: 1
Dina Babushkina What Does It Mean for a Robot to Be Respectful?
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Intelligent systems are increasingly incorporated into relationships that had, until recently, been reserved solely for humans, and are delegated the role of a partner, which, if human, would presuppose a system of normatively regulated interactivity. This includes expectations of reciprocity and certain attitudes/actions towards human actors, such as respect. Even though a robot cannot respect, I argue that it can be respectful. A robot can be attributed respectfulness (in the direct sense) iff its interactions with persons reflect the respectful attitude of the humans involved in its design and operation. Robot respectfulness is a compound of (a) robotic actions governed by principles that (b) reflect the attitude of respect for persons by humans involved in its design, implementation, and professional use. I define respect for persons as a commitment to core values that make someone a person (i.e., intellect, rationality of reactive attitudes, autonomy, personal integrity, and trust in expertise).