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61. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 24 > Issue: 1/2
Lisa Nelson The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
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There is little debate that there are important ethical questions that we must answer as we increase our reliance on social networking technologies such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube for our communications, interactions and connections. Social media is at the center of many of our greatest public policy challenges but the moral (or immoral) role it plays in relation to human behavior is far from settled. Part of the difficulty we face in addressing the unique challenges of social networking technologies is discerning the significance of social networking on us. This is because we often begin with an erroneous assumption. The moral significance of technologies generally—not only social networking technologies—is hampered by the insistence that technologies are typically considered objects and we are human, and the province of morality has long been ours. Postphenomenological inquiries can help to fashion technological development in pursuit of understanding how our moral behavior takes shape, but we can also take a critical perspective on who we are and what we are becoming in light of what social networking technologies reveal about the state of our ontological Being.
62. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 24 > Issue: 3
Joshua M. Penrod Is It Really Only Real Friends Who Really Help You Move the Body?: Review of Friendship, Robots, and Social Media: False Friends and Second Selves, by Alexis M. Elder
63. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 24 > Issue: 3
Elise Li Zheng Redefining the Datafication of Selves: Review of Data Selves: More-than-Human Perspectives, by Deborah Lupton
64. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 24 > Issue: 3
Ethan Hallerman Interface Formats of the Self: On Colin Koopman’s Theory of Infopower: Review of How We Became Our Data: A Genealogy of the Informational Person, by Colin Koopman
65. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 24 > Issue: 3
Bonnie Sheehey Ethics Beyond Transparency: Resisting the Racial Injustice of Predictive Policing
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This paper responds to recent work highlighting the problematic racial politics of predictive policing technologies. Drawing on Michel Foucault’s account of ethics as counter-conduct, I develop a set of ethical techniques for resisting the racial injustice at work in predictive policing. This framework has the advantage, I argue, of not reducing the ethical issues of predictive policing solely to epistemic concerns of transparency. What I suggest is that we think about the ethics of technology less as an epistemic problem than as a problem for action or practice. By thinking of ethics in terms of resistant practices, we can begin to consider a notion of responsibility that holds us and the technologies we bind ourselves to accountable for the harms created by this bond.
66. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 24 > Issue: 3
Bas de Boer, Jonne Hoek The Advance of Technoscience and the Problem of Death Determination: A Promethean Puzzle
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Death determination has long been a topic of intensive technoscientific and medical involvement. Due to advances in twentieth-century medical technology, the distinction between life and death has become less evident. Ambiguities appear when we start to use life-support technologies in order to save lives, bringing about “tragic artifacts” such as brain death and persistent vegetative state. In this paper we ask how this technoscientific and medical involvement shapes our understanding of death. We provide an overview of medical literature that has appeared on (brain) death determination, highlighting thereby the role that technologies played in its establishment. Subsequently, we develop three philosophical interpretations of technological death determination: With Agamben and Marcuse as the installation of political power; with Don Ihde as an existential choice for the inevitable; and with Jacques Derrida as an encounter with the ineradicable mystery of death. To conclude, we argue that technological death determination reveals an intrinsic, paradoxical connection between human’s technicity and its ignorance of death.
67. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 24 > Issue: 3
Billy Wheeler Reliabilism and the Testimony of Robots
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We are becoming increasingly dependent on robots and other forms of artificial intelligence for our beliefs. But how should the knowledge gained from the “say-so” of a robot be classified? Should it be understood as testimonial knowledge, similar to knowledge gained in conversation with another person? Or should it be understood as a form of instrument-based knowledge, such as that gained from a calculator or a sundial? There is more at stake here than terminology, for how we treat objects as sources of knowledge often has important social and legal consequences. In this paper, I argue that at least some robots are capable of testimony. I make my argument by exploring the differences between instruments and testifiers on a well-known account of knowledge: reliabilism. On this approach, I claim that the difference between instruments and testifiers as sources of knowledge is that only the latter are capable of deception. As some robots can be designed to deceive, so they too should be recognized as testimonial sources of knowledge.
68. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 24 > Issue: 3
Ryan Wittingslow Effing the Ineffable: The Sublime in Postphenomenology
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Motivating this article is an interest in how postphenomenological technical relations participate in aesthetic experiences. Introducing aesthetic experience into our analyses of technical relations allows us to better tease apart the distinction between our relationship with the artefact, and how we experience that relationship. However, the sublime poses a unique set of complications for postphenomenologists. Thanks to the overwhelming qualities of the sublime, it is unclear where sublimity fits within the Ihdean relational taxonomy—or indeed, if it can at all, given that sublime experience would in principle overwhelm and dissolve the extant relation. This article resolves this apparent tension, and offers an accounts of how sublime experience is able to be reconciled with Ihdean postphenomenology.
69. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 24 > Issue: 3
Shachar Freddy Kislev Six Hegelian Theses about Technology
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Hegel has long been considered a major thinker of progress. This paper extends Hegel’s philosophy of progress into an outline of a philosophy of technology. It does this not by directly reading the little Hegel wrote on the subject, but by introducing six central Hegelian ideas that bear on the technological thought. It argues that, for Hegel, (1) mankind is destined to change its destiny; (2) that true change involved qualitative change; (3) that true change is conceptual, and not material, change; (4) that history progresses immanently according to its own laws; (5) that history progresses towards ever greater artificiality; and that (6) artificiality is closely linked to freedom. These ideas cohere into a Hegelian metaphysics of technology, which is supportive of the technological enterprise. This paper is meant both to sketch a metaphysical understanding of the technological enterprise, and to trace the intellectual roots of contemporary technological utopianism.
70. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 24 > Issue: 3
Dario Rodighiero, Alberto Romele The Hermeneutic Circle of Data Visualization: The Case Study of the Affinity Map
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In this article, we show how postphenomenology can be used to analyze the Affinity Map: a data visualization that reveals the hidden dynamics that exist between individuals within large organizations. We make use of the Affinity Map to expand the classic postphenomenology that privileges a ‘linear’ understanding of technological mediations and introduce the notions of ‘iterativity’ and ‘collectivity.’ In the first section of the paper, we discuss both classic and more recent descriptions of human-technology-world relations in order to transcendentally approach the discipline of data visualization. In the second section, we use the Affinity Map case study to consider three elements: 1) the collection of data and the design process; 2) the visual grammar of the data visualization, and 3) the process of self-recognition for the map ‘reader.’ In the third section, we introduce the hermeneutic circle of data visualization. Finally, we suggest that the Affinity Map, because of its ethical and political multistability, might be seen as a material encounter between postphenomenology, actor-network theory (ANT), and hermeneutics.
71. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 23 > Issue: 3
Johanna Seibt, Raffaele Rodogno Understanding Emotions and Their Significance through Social Robots, and Vice Versa
72. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 23 > Issue: 3
Jaana Parviainen, Lina van Aerschot, Tuomo Särkikoski, Satu Pekkarinen, Helinä Melkas Motions with Emotions?: A Phenomenological Approach to Understanding the Simulated Aliveness of a Robot Body
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This article examines how the interactive capabilities of companion robots, particularly their materiality and animate movements, appeal to human users and generate an image of aliveness. Building on Husserl’s phenomenological notion of a ‘double body’ and theories of emotions as affective responses, we develop a new understanding of the robots’ simulated aliveness. Analyzing empirical findings of a field study on the use of the robot Zora in care homes for older people, we suggest that the aliveness of companion robots is the result of a combination of four aspects: 1) material ingredients, 2) morphology, 3) animate movements guided by software programs and human operators as in Wizard of Oz-settings and 4) anthropomorphising narratives created by their users to support the robot’s performance. We suggest that narratives on affective states, such as, sleepiness or becoming frightened attached to the robot trigger users’ empathic feelings, caring and tenderness toward the robot.
73. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 23 > Issue: 3
Kerstin Fischer Why Collaborative Robots Must Be Social (and even Emotional) Actors
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In this article, I address the question whether or not robots should be social actors and suggest that we do not have much choice but to construe collaborative robots as social actors. Social cues, including emotional displays, serve coordination functions in human interaction and therefore have to be used, even by robots, in order for long-term collaboration to succeed. While robots lack the experiential basis of emotional display, also in human interaction much emotional expression is part of conventional social practice; if robots are to participate in such social practices, they need to produce such signals as well. I conclude that if we aim to share our social spaces with robots, they better be social actors, which may even include the display of emotions. This finding is of empirical as well as philosophical relevance because it shifts the ethical discussion away from the question, how social collaborative robots should be, to the question, what kinds of human-robot collaborations we want.
74. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 23 > Issue: 3
Arto Laitinen, Marketta Niemelä, Jari Pirhonen Demands of Dignity in Robotic Care: Recognizing Vulnerability, Agency, and Subjectivity in Robot-based, Robot-assisted, and Teleoperated Elderly Care
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Having a sense of dignity is one of the core emotions in human life. Is our dignity, and accordingly also our sense of dignity under threat in elderly care, especially in robotic care? How can robotic care support or challenge human dignity in elderly care? The answer will depend on whether it is robot-based, robot-assisted, or teleoperated care that is at stake. Further, the demands and realizations of human dignity have to be distinguished. The demands to respect humans are based on human dignity and the inalienable high and equal moral standing that everyone has. For human moral agents, these demands take the form of negative and positive duties. For robots, they arguably take the form of corresponding ought-to-be norms. The realizations of dignity consist in variable responses to these demands, by oneself by others, and by society at large. This article examines how robot-based, robot-assisted, and teleoperated care can amount to realizations of dignity. The varieties of robotic care can, in different ways, be responsive to the demands of dignity and recognize humans as vulnerable beings with needs, as autonomous agents, and as rational subjects of experience, emotion, and thought.
75. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 23 > Issue: 3
Sven Nyholm, Lily Eva Frank It Loves Me, It Loves Me Not: Is It Morally Problematic to Design Sex Robots that Appear to Love Their Owners?
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Drawing on insights from robotics, psychology, and human-computer interaction, developers of sex robots are currently aiming to create emotional bonds of attachment and even love between human users and their products. This is done by creating robots that can exhibit a range of facial expressions, that are made with human-like artificial skin, and that possess a rich vocabulary with many conversational possibilities. In light of the human tendency to anthropomorphize artefacts, we can expect that designers will have some success and that this will lead to the attribution of mental states to the robot that the robot does not actually have, as well as the inducement of significant emotional responses in the user. This raises the question of whether it might be ethically problematic to try to develop robots that appear to love their users. We discuss three possible ethical concerns about this aim: first, that designers may be taking advantage of users’ emotional vulnerability; second, that users may be deceived; and, third, that relationships with robots may block off the possibility of more meaningful relationships with other humans. We argue that developers should attend to the ethical constraints suggested by these concerns in their development of increasingly humanoid sex robots. We discuss two different ways in which they might do so.
76. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 23 > Issue: 3
Felix Tun Han Lo The Dilemma of Openness in Social Robots
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This paper conducts a philosophical inquiry into past empirical research that reveals emotional coupling and category confusion between the human and the social robot. It examines whether emotional coupling and category confusion would increase or diminish the reification of human emotion and the human milieu by examining whether they fulfill the ideal of openness in technology. The important theories of openness, from the respective proposals of open industrial machines by Gérard-Joseph Christian and Karl Marx, to Umberto Eco’s critique of open art and Gilbert Simondon’s philosophy of open technology, are in agreement that (i) openness is the condition for realizing the potentiality for transcending the existing aesthetic, technical, or social structure, and (ii) that the realization of potentiality would diminish the reification of the human milieu. The therapeutic effect of emotional coupling with social robots seems to fulfill this ideal of open technology, whereas category confusion seems to increase rather than diminish reification. If people confuse the robot with the human, they risk losing sight of the unpredictability of other human beings that is essential to human development. This paper concludes that it is possible to avoid category confusion by building social robots without giving them a human-like appearance.
77. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 23 > Issue: 3
Michał Klincewicz Robotic Nudges for Moral Improvement through Stoic Practice
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This article offers a theoretical framework that can be used to derive viable engineering strategies for the design and development of robots that can nudge people towards moral improvement. The framework relies on research in developmental psychology and insights from Stoic ethics. Stoicism recommends contemplative practices that over time help one develop dispositions to behave in ways that improve the functioning of mechanisms that are constitutive of moral cognition. Robots can nudge individuals towards these practices and can therefore help develop the dispositions to, for example, extend concern to others, avoid parochialism, etc.
78. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 23 > Issue: 3
Janna van Grunsven, Aimee van Wynsberghe A Semblance of Aliveness: How the Peculiar Embodiment of Sex Robots Will Matter
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While the design of sex robots is still in the early stages, the social implications of the potential proliferation of sex robots into our lives has been heavily debated by activists and scholars from various disciplines. What is missing in the current debate on sex robots and their potential impact on human social relations is a targeted look at the boundedness and bodily expressivity typically characteristic of humans, the role that these dimensions of human embodiment play in enabling reciprocal human interactions, and the manner in which this contrasts with sex robot-human interactions. Through a fine-grained discussion of these themes, rooted in fruitful but largely untapped resources from the field of enactive embodied cognition, we explore the unique embodiment of sex robots. We argue that the embodiment of the sex robot is constituted by what we term restricted expressivity and a lack of bodily boundedness and that this is the locus of negative but also potentially positive implications. We discuss the possible benefits that these two dimensions of embodiment may have for people within a specific demographic, namely some persons on the autism spectrum. Our preliminary conclusion—that the benefits and the downsides of sex robots reside in the same capability of the robot, its restricted expressivity and lack of bodily boundedness as we call it—demands we take stock of future developments in the design of sex robot embodiment. Given the importance of evidence-based research pertaining to sex robots in particular, as reinforced by Nature (2017) for drawing correlations and making claims, the analysis is intended to set the stage for future research.
79. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 10 > Issue: 2
Paul T. Durbin Chapter 19: Dutch Schools
80. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 10 > Issue: 2
Paul T. Durbin Chapter 17: The Last Hoorah for Philosophy and Technology