Technopolitics: Charting the Unknown

Faculdade de Letras da Universidade de Coimbra, Room TP2 | In-person Format | Free attendance

Technopolitics is a follow-up conference that intends to depart from and expand the concept of Cyberpolitics to the effects of technology in our lives while placing politics at the center of philosophical thought. Most investigations in the fields of Humanities have highlighted the impact of digitization and social virtualization and mapped the transition from the industrial revolution to the digital world. The fusion of disruptive NBIC technologies (Nano-Bio-Info-Cogno) is changing the fundamentals of our world, almost roaming on its own towards a near future with unprecedented and unpredictable outcomes.

These new technological grounds imply a paradigm shift in the radical transition from an instrumental (auxiliary) to an autonomous reason (essential). That means the impossibility of technological neutrality. Beyond exploring what the axiological non-neutrality of technology means, politics, e.g., Technopolitics, shows the perspective of the absolutism of technicality as a worldview. Societies haven't duly addressed AI's exponential progress yet. Given its out-of-control development, soon, it could have an agenda of its own, leading to an eventual singleton of some kind. The strategies explored until now have been far from consensual, as has been the experts' position on this. Should we let it develop in an open-source kind of environment where everybody influences it (but from where also anyone can have dangerous access), or on the other hand, should we confine its regulated development to a specific number of chosen experts? One of these two directions might be the future of AI Governance.

Science, culture, and technology appear to be merging and in combat simultaneously. And all fields of knowledge are alert to the main idea: how deep is technology shaping our societies and politics? Probably a double edge sword: on the one hand, it's expanding our conscience as a planetary unity and diversity, even in our relation to the beginning of a new experience for the human civilization in its first solar system expansion, and on the other, it is closing minds and behaviors around individual technological devices that enclose the human experience and life. On a larger scale, with the development of energy wars on a close horizon, the theory of political systems will soon face the expected clash with the paradoxes of democracy, i.e., what values will emerge for the future of the fusion of democracy with technology after the fusion of democracy with liberal economics? Will Science become the new global religion? Can Dataism be that religion? Will these issues lead our society to a dystopia soon?

Regardless of the outcome, an age of instability is also an age of challenges where we must confront the illusions in the mist and the shades of mirages that, with the promises of scientific salvation, may make us forget the realism and pragmatism of surviving, thriving, and overcoming. In our era of uncertainty, and while our civilization moves toward a hyper-technological future, we should not forget to discuss and reflect on the values and ethics we would like to survive the ruin of time and pass on to the next generations.

Keynote Speakers

Bernd Bösel

Universität Potsdam

Anders Sandberg

Oxford University

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