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Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology

Volume 22, Issue 1, 2018

Mauricio Villaseñor Terán
Pages 28-50
DOI: 10.5840/techne201792170

Philosophical Explorations for a Concept of Emerging Technologies

The term “emerging technologies” is greatly used nowadays in scientific publications, but its conceptual competence is not clear. The term remains poorly studied, especially from a philosophical stance. The following text aims to bring clarity and discussion about the term. First, I critique previous usages of the term. Thereafter, I conduct a lexico-hermeneutical analysis by questioning what it means for technologies to be qualified as “emerging.” Finally, I contrast the term with the akin terms of invention, innovation, and new and disruptive technologies. From the analysis, I defend the term has a conceptual value expressed through its leverage (both present and to come), ascendance, uncertainty, and materiality. “Emerging technologies” is becoming dominant because it overcomes the static and mythical term of “invention,” incorporating the social process meant by innovation; in other words, “emerging technologies” emphasizes the dynamic behaviour of technological development, while pointing towards concrete artefacts and procedures.