The Jagiellonian University’s Students Circle – The Philosophy of Technology Club

 

Adrian Mroz (in “real life” abbrev. “RL”) a.k.a. Abenteuerzeit (Secod Life – abbrev. “SL”) has started The Philosophy of Technology Club, which is part of The Jagiellonian University’s Student Circle of the Institute of Philosophy, on November 2015.

Club Chair: Adrian Mroz (RL) | Abenteuerzeit (SL) – a.mroz@student.uj.edu.pl
Vice-Chair: Dorota Tomaszewska (RL) Walpurgia Night (SL) – grrr@o2.pl

Membership Declaration: please contact club chair.

Topics covered include, but are not limited to: techno-scepticism / enthusiasm, techno-religion, virtual reality, bionics, nanotechnology, artificial intelligence, interaction, techne, video game discourse.
Polish Terminology:

Jędrzej Maliński, Techne, źródło Techniki
Suggested Reading:

1. Spitzer Mafred, Digital Dementia: What We and Our Children are Doing to our Minds.
2. Noah Yuval Harari, Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind.
3. Ray Kurzweil, The Singularity is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology.
4. James Gleick, Information: a History, a Theory, a Flood.
5. Stanisław Lem, Summa Technologiae.
6. Dominic Pettman, Love and Other Technologies: Retrofitting Eros for the Information Age.
7. Philipp Zimbardo, Nikita Coulombe, The Demise of Guys.
8. Sidey Myoo, Joanna Hańderek, Filozofia Technologii

Films:
Metropolis, feature film, dir. Fritz Lang (1927)
Ex-Machina, feature film, dir. Alex Garland (2015)
Chappie, feature film, dir. Neill Blomkamp (2015)
Transcendence, feature film, dir. Wally Ofister (2014)
Her, feature film, dir. Spike Jonze (2013)
Matrix, feature film, dir. Larry and Andy Wachowscy (1999, 2003) – Wiki

Join us! 🙂


Meeting 1: November 17, 2015

Organizational meeting of The Philosophy of Technology Club with a lecture delivered by Adrian Mroz (RL) | Abenteuerzeit (SL) on the impact of technology on human life. Spotkanie organizacyjne Sekcji Filozofii Techniki KNSF UJ,

Meeting 2: December 1, 2015

The lecture, titled Morlokowie czy Elojowie? Wpływ techniki na życie człowieka, was based on Manfred Spitzer’s book Digital Dementia, and delivered by Adrian Mroz (RL) | Abenteuerzeit (SL). A selection of issues related to change in brain function was discussed as well as the influence of technology on the human mind. There was also a referrence to the futurology of Herbert G. Wells.

Literature:
1. Spitzer Mafred, Digital Dementia: What We and Our Children are Doing to our Minds.
2. H. G. Wells, The Time Machine.
3. Her, feature film, dir. Spike Jonze (2013)

Meeting 3: December 15, 2015

Dorota Tomaszewska (RL) aka Noc Walpurgii (SL), presented a lecture on the end of humanity titled Zmierzch człowieczeństwa: paradoksy posthumanizmu.

The purpose of the lecture concerns confronting radically enhanced human beings with views of the supporters of posthuman movements. A special meta-objectives accompanying the study of body enhancement is showing the function of philosophical and ethical considerations in empirical sciences.

The main subject of the discussion was the critical work of Nicholas Agar entitled Humanity’s End. Why We should Reject Radical Enhancement. In this book, Agar evaluates technological enthusiastic of two posthuman camps: the compatibilists, who assume a lack of conflict between the human condition and radical enhancements possible for humans (such as Ray Kurzweil), and incompatibilists such as Nick Bostrom, who promote the view of creating a new category, a better species, without any remorse in bidding humanity goodbye.

Nicolas Agar criticizes radical enhancements on two fronts. First, he tries to demonstrate the unrealistic nature of many of the assumptions in posthumanist projects. He is sceptical about strong AI and opposes atomic views with a holistic approach. He also does not believe in strong compatibility between humans and machines. His ontological position does not recognize the possibility of identity continuity between “I” and its copy in another material substrate, which is why he rejects the idea od uploading (the mind), while referring to “Searle’s Wager” among other ideas.

Where philosophers foresee potential success in enhancement projects, he foresees a serious breakdown and warns against their effects. This is how he rebutes Aubrey de Gray’s promise of longevity through nanobiotechnology, which would eliminate the effects of aging. Agar depicts a perspective that is contradictory to human nature. He is, in the words of de Gray, a fanatic who is convinced that taking away a person’s death also takes away the value of life.

Finally, he considers the social consequences that arise from a division into “natural” and “enhanced” people. It evokes a number of classic anti-utopias, including H.G. Wells’ and demonstrates the naivety of the concept of “democratic transhumanism”.

Suggested Reading:

Nick Bostrom, Transhumanist Values

Nicholas Agar, Humanity’s End. Why We Should Reject Radical Enhancement (MIT)

Video:

Neil Harbisson: I listen to color, The first official “cyborg” (TED)
Gattaca – Szok przyszłości, feature film, dir. Andrew Niccol – zwiastun
The Brave New Bionic World – a video about body modyfication (TED)

Noc Walpurgii – Zmierzch człowieczeństwa. Paradoksy posthumanizmu (streszczenie)