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Introduction to the course and educators

Welcome to the first video of the course on Philosophy of Technology and Design by mentor Roos de Jong.
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Hello and welcome to this course on philosophy of technology. I will be your mentor. And together with a team of moderators, I will guide you through the course. Our lead educator will be Peter-Paul Verbeek. Verbeek is professor at a philosophy department and co-director of the DesignLab at the University of Twente. Professor Verbeek and I will take you on a journey through the philosophy of technology. In the next four weeks, you’ll be introduced to classical and contemporary views on how to understand the relations between humans, technologies and the world. You’ll see how our conceptions of these relations have changed.
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And besides that, you will learn how the philosophical approach of technological mediation can be used in the practice of design and engineering. We will focus specifically on Artificial Intelligence.
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By looking into some specific cases, you will get insight in the impact of technology on society and individual lives. I will invite you to think about automated decision making by cognitive systems and the interactions we can have with intelligent voice assistants. In these cases, we will challenge you to apply your newly acquired knowledge and reflect on what it means to live together in intertwined real and digital worlds. After finishing this course, you have gotten an introduction into the fascinating field of philosophy of technology. You’ll have read philosophical texts and discussed urgent societal issues and ethical principles. But most importantly, you’ll have gained new perspectives on how to understand the relations between humans and technologies.
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So I hope you will proceed to the next steps in this course. And as I will be guiding the discussions, I look forward to your contributions.
Thanks for joining this course on philosophy of technology! Before we delve into some interesting classical and contemporary ideas about the relation between humans and technologies, we will introduce you to the structure of the course.
During the next three weeks you will get a historical and thematic introduction to the field of philosophy of technology. You will learn about some classical and contemporary views on the developments and (social) problems related to the field of technology. Besides, you will gain insights on how this theoretical knowledge can benefit the concrete practice of design, by means of a variety of case studies, assignments and examples.

This course has the following structure

  • During week 1, we will introduce you to the “classical philosophy of technology” of Karl Jaspers and Martin Heidegger1 and show you how they evaluated the implications of technology for society. You will learn about their worries about how they feared that technology would alienate us from our authentic existence. Also, you will explore the question of control over technology in a case-study on self-driving cars.
  • Week 2 will focus on more contemporary views in philosophy of technology. You will learn more about the ideas of Don Ihde and Bruno Latour, and about the post-phenomenological framework of “mediation” to describe and analyse how technologies shape relations between humans and the world. A case-study on social robots will challenge you to reflect on the boundaries between human and machine and on the extent to which we are embedded in a technological world.
  • In week 3, we will broaden our perspective by questioning how we can evaluate the social impact of technology and how we can take it into account when designing new technologies. You will learn to identify and think about the ethical dimensions of mediation, specifically within the context of design. Moreover, the idea of an “ethics of things” invites you to think about how technology is actually challenging our ethical frameworks themselves.

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Disclaimer for this course

We did our very best to verify the sources of all materials used in this online course. If you find any infringement regarding copyright protected material, please let us know immediately. Any infringement was not done on purpose and will be rectified to all parties’ satisfaction.
1 Heidegger has a Nazi past. However, in this course no anti-Semitic or Nazism elements are mentioned. An introduction into Philosophy of Technology cannot be given without introducing Heidegger, because his approach plays a central part in Philosophy of Technology. May this be offensive in any way, please unsubscribe from this online course.
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Philosophy of Technology and Design: Shaping the Relations Between Humans and Technologies

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