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Displaying: 1-6 of 6 documents


1. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 22 > Issue: 2
Nolen Gertz Hegel, the Struggle for Recognition, and Robots
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While the mediational theories of Don Ihde and Peter-Paul Verbeek have helped to uncover the role that technologies play in ethical life, the role that technologies play in political life has received far less attention. In order to fill in this gap, I turn to the mediational theory of Hegel. Hegel shows how understanding the mediated nature of experience is vital to understanding the development of political life. Through examples found in the military, in particular concerning the relationship between explosive ordnance detonation (EOD) soldiers and robots, I illustrate how Hegel’s analysis of the “struggle for recognition” can be used to understand human-technology relations from a political perspective. This political perspective can consequently help us to appreciate how technologies come to have a role in political life through our ability to experience solidarity with technology. Solidarity is experienced by users due to the recognition of technologies as serving roles in society that I describe as functionally equivalent to the social roles of the user. The realization of this functional equivalence allows users to learn how they are perceived and respected by society through the experience of how functionally equivalent technologies are perceived and respected. I conclude by focusing on the importance of understanding functional equivalence in design, as well as in the case of the Dallas Police Department having turned an EOD robot from a life-saving to a life-taking device. These examples show why Hegel is necessary for helping us to understand the political significance of recognizing and of misrecognizing technologies.
2. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 22 > Issue: 2
Eduardo R. Cruz Creativity, Human and Transhuman: The Childhood Factor
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Transhumanists, like other elites in modernity, place great value on human creativity, and advances in human enhancement and AI form the basis of their proposals for boosting it. However, there are problems with this perspective, due to the unique ways in which humans have evolved, procreated and socialized. I first describe how creativity is related to past evolution and developmental aspects in children, stressing pretend play and the ambivalent character of creativity. Then, I outline proposals for enhancing creativity, be it in embodied humans on the way to a superior species, in AI-related beings (virtual reality, robotics), or even in any degree of mixture in human-machine interaction. In the final section, I describe intrinsic limits to these proposals, such as the absence of a good understanding of human psychology by the proponents of enhancement; the lack of interest in the subjective side of creativity (for one’s own sake); delayed maturation and the ambivalence of pretend play in childhood; and the contrariness typical of new human generations. As for the enhancement of creativity, it is argued that creativity in its social context may be the victim of its own past success. On the other hand, an asymmetry between virtual beings and children is described—the latter can behave in a nasty way, it is part of their growth and creativity, whereas the former are not supposed to cause any harm to human beings. In sum, despite impressive progress in several scientific and technological interventions in creativity, philosophical questions emerge that place many constraints on transhumanist dreams of endless creativity.
3. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 22 > Issue: 2
Zachary Pirtle, Jay Odenbaugh, Andrew Hamilton, Zoe Szajnfarber Engineering Model Independence: A Strategy to Encourage Independence Among Models
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According to population biologist Richard Levins, every discipline has a “strategy of model building,” which involves implicit assumptions about epistemic goals and the types of abstractions and modeling approaches used. We will offer suggestions about how to model complex systems based upon a strategy focusing on independence in modeling. While there are many possible and desirable modeling strategies, we will contrast a model-independence-focused strategy with the more common modeling strategy of adding increasing levels of detail to a model. Levins calls the latter approach a ‘brute force’ strategy of modeling, which can encounter problems as it attempts to add increasing details and predictive precision. In contrast, a model-independence-focused strategy, which we call a ‘pluralistic strategy,’ draws off of Levins’s use of an assemblage of multiple, simple and—critically—independent models of ecological systems in order to do predictive and explanatory analysis. We use the example of model analysis of levee failure during Hurricane Katrina to show what a pluralistic strategy looks like in engineering. Depending on one’s strategy, one can deliberately engineer the set of available models in order to have more independent and complementary models that will be more likely to be accurate. We offer advice on ways of making models independent as well as a set of epistemic goals for model development that different models can emphasize.
4. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 22 > Issue: 2
Chrysanthos Voutounos, Andreas Lanitis A Cultural Semiotic Aesthetic Approach for a Virtual Heritage Project: Part B—Evaluation and Design for Virtual Heritage and Theoretical Extensions
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Continuing from Part A (2016), in which we discuss the semiotic foundation for designing a virtual museum of Byzantine art, Part B presents an applied methodology for the representation of cultural artifacts through virtual technologies and semiotic techniques. We discuss how our semiotic model, case study semiosphere, contributes to design and evaluation research of such unique art-form representation and why the approach contributes as a whole to the field of Virtual Heritage (VH). Theorizing further the design implications integrating the overall approach including the evaluation experiment of three VH applications with the participation of young users and its semiotic analysis, we formulate design guidelines that can be applied also to other types of cultural heritage and art.
5. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 22 > Issue: 2
Martin Sand How the Future Has a Grip on Us
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Being faced with bold statements about the technological future, the wickedness of technological systems and our frequent cluelessness when aiming at predicting the course of such systems, scholars from philosophy of technology and Technology Assessment (TA) have given up believing that any method can enhance our knowledge about the future. Hence, hermeneutic TA, forensics of wishing and other approaches shift their focus on the present of such futures. While these approaches are meaningful in their own right, they basically rest on a too sceptical foundation. In my article I will present some objections to these approaches. It is clearly true as has been pointed out that knowledge about the future cannot be tested to correspond with reality, since the future does not yet exist. However, it is debatable whether such a criterion is generally required for robust knowledge. Giving that we cannot observe the past but claim to know a lot about, I will argue that a commitment to the correspondence theory of truth is too strong a requirement for robust knowledge about the future. Theory building departs by inferring from present observations into both directions, future and past. To show this, some examples that illustrate how the future has a lock on us will be discussed. Furthermore, it will be outlined that the often cited notion of future’s openness also rests on such inferential knowledge, which indicates incoherence in the skeptics’ approach. These arguments build the basis for a modest realism about the future.
book reviews
6. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 22 > Issue: 2
Richard S. Lewis Wisdom Practices for Living with Technology: Review of The Ethics of Ordinary Technology, by Michel Puech
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