Politics of Technologies in the Digital Age: Philosophical and Interdisciplinary Perspectives

April 28, 2023 - April 30, 2023
Department of Philosophy, University of Ioannina

Ioánnina
Greece

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University of Vienna

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Thirty six years ago, Langdon Winner famously asked the question: “do artifacts have politics?”. However, the broader concern about technology, its course and nature begun much earlier. Not only with Martin Heidegger’s well-known essay on “The question concerning Technology” (1955), but already from the publication of modernity’s emblematic work, Francis Bacon’s Novum Organum (1620).

Today, the digital world and the Internet lead to rapid technological changes in a wide range of social domains such as work, education, communication and the market. Inevitably, contemplating technology today involves considerations about cyberspace, cybertime and the digital self, while contemporary philosophy of technology increasingly turns its attention to issues concerning the future and the impact of the Internet.

At the same time, it is beyond doubt that the nature of the Internet is inherently social. Think, for example, of the impact of social media and the resulting surveillance capitalism—largely products of Web technologies that make possible the continuous and elaborate tracking of internet users’ activities.

Indeed, such is the impact of the Internet on individuals’ psychological and social state that an increasing number of philosophical works concerns with the co-existence of machines and humans, going often so far as to envision the transition to a world where the rigid distinction between the user and the artifact will gradually blur. Users and technology, instead, often appear as co-authors of a shared self-narrative, raising questions of ontological, epistemological, humanist and socio-historical texture.

A particularly important issue in this context concerns the control and construction of digital technologies. How do we deal with the fact that people and corporations that are responsible for the constructions of digital technologies and infrastructures may affect social structures, political functions and personal behaviors in a historically unprecedented way? Current social and political events clearly highlight the importance of such concerns. Think, for example, of the way the ongoing pandemic intensified and transformed the involvement of digital technologies across nearly all dimensions of social and personal lives.

Thus it is obvious that Winner’s question is today more pertinent than ever. Exploring and understanding the political nature of artifacts (both digital and analogue) is, no doubt, one of the most pressing and important topics of our time.

We are pleased to announce an international symposium dedicated to the relationship of digital technologies with politics. We invite contributions to any of the topics that appear below (the list being only indicative and non-exhaustive):

Socio-historical dimensions of the digital age

Digital technologies and forms of power

Online propaganda

Social machines and politics

Conspiracy theories and the internet

Cyberfeminism

Humanist approaches to digital technologies

Phenomenological and post-phenomenological approaches to digital technologies

Artificial intelligence and governmentality

Algorithmic bias

Digital technologies and war

Challenges of democracy in the digital era

Digital economy

Digital capitalism

Digital labor

Digital technologies and education

Gaming and gamification

Online virtues, vices and politics

From biopolitics to the “societies of control”

Digital commons

Digital technologies in the post-COVID 19 era

We strongly encourage applications from a broad range of social, cultural and educational backgrounds and especially from authors representing disenfranchised groups.

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