Roos de Jong

Roos de Jong

Alumna of the MSc Philosophy of Science, Technology and Society University of Twente | Digital Ethics Expert
(www.linkedin.com/in/r-dejong)

Activity

  • However, there is (at least in the Netherlands) a diverse landscape with research, advisory organisations and multi-stakeholder initiatives that share knowledge in the field of digitalisation and support the formation of public and political opinion!

  • Yes, there are similar organisations which conduct research and give advice in parliamentary decision-making processes, both in Europe and abroad (United States and South America). Some are in, whereas others are outside parliament. At the request of the Temporary Committee on the Digital Future of the Dutch House of Representatives, Rathenau Insituut has...

  • @LuizMiranda Postphenomenology helps to understand the relation between humans and the world and how it comes about mediated by technology. It's all about NOT separating the subjects (human beings, the observer), from the objects (technology, the observed). *Phenomenology* stresses that human being never encounter the world in itself, but only and always a...

  • @ArminR Good questions; I think you're right. An artifact can play more roles in human life than functional ones; an individual can be attached to a mass-produced and functional product. Think of IKEA furniture, for instance. You can make all kinds of choices; to personalise a specific closet, you can choose colours, materials, etc. and feel very unique...

  • ...and insights from these kind of programmes can be "translated" and applied to help all kinds organisations to reflect on and make decisions about ethical issues arising from technologies they develop, use or regulate. That's how I understood my job at Rathenau Instituut (https://www.rathenau.nl/en/about-us/what-we-do) and currently at Deloitte...

  • @LuizMiranda I would say the role of philosophers (of technology) is to fundamentally understand and assess technology's role, and improve how technology and society interact :)

    There are all kinds of research projects you could read about (funded by big grants) to get a better idea of the (academic) work. For instance, "Ethics of Socially Disruptive...

  • @BertGroothand Maybe... Heidegger lived from 1889 to 1976 (and Jaspers 1883-1969); I would say technology also had influence on everyday life then... but there are some thought-provoking ways to distinguish between, for instance, the first machine age (in which machines took over handcraft) and the second machine age (in which machines are over thinking). Or...

  • Think of speed bumps used by skaters ;)

    A script can be understood as the "instruction manual" inscribed in a technological artefact. It is interesting to analyse assumptions made by designers regarding the characteristics of potential users and the context of use (skills, preferences), and how they were inscribed in the technology.

  • Great questions and answers! Indeed, Ihde argues that a technology can be many things at once; one and the same artefact can have different identities in different use contexts. It's not "up to philosophers," but to users, I would say

    As technologies have no “fixed identity”, it is also difficult to predict the ways in which technologies will influence...

  • @RodrigoRoqueDeCastro Indeed, the approaches may be complementary to each other. The hermeneutical approach (focus on how reality is present for human beings; the way the world is interpreted) and existential approach (focus on how we are present in the world; the way we realise our existence) can be seen as two different starting points for discussing the...

  • It is not inconceivable that we will become as attached to our speech technology as we are to our mobile phones, There are voice assistants specially developed to serve as companions. The experiences can be enjoyable and adds fun to our lives, but attraction can turn into addiction, after all, they are there for a user 24/7. We can interact with speech...

  • Good point! Language is evolving, but not all changes or preferences will be picked up equally. Developers are likely to focus on dominant language usage. There is much more data available for some languages and dialects, and some markets are more attractive than others. This can lead to exclusion of certain groups and put pressure on minorities to conform to...

  • Voice assistants can discipline users’ language, for instance, by admonishing users for shouting or rewarding them for politeness. Amazon has already implemented software in Echo smart speakers in which Alexa says "by the way, thanks for asking so nicely". Google has also introduced "pretty please" software. The software may help combat certain habits or...

  • Great to hear ;)

    Maybe it is nice to point out how post-phenomenology continues the phenomenological tradition.

    This week you will learn about Don Ihde, who is building off of Heidegger’s example of the hammer when he describes the embodiment relationship. The hammer becomes an extension of our arm, just as a pen becomes an extension of our hand when...

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  • @ErikTerwiel thanks for pointing this out (it should indeed read subject *and* object). Maybe this helps to clarify it a bit further:

    - science analyses reality
    - phenomenology describes reality

    The scientific method: aims at knowledge about the object, independent from the subject (by means of repeated observation and experimentation). There is a...

  • He explains that the meaning of being is not fixed; it changes throughout history. This history, according to Heidegger, turns out to be a progressive “forgetting of being”. Whereas the ancient Greeks still thought of “being” as “coming into being”, for Plato “being” began to mean the embodying an idea, which forms the “essence” of an entity. In the Middle...

  • Maybe I can help explain. According to Heidegger, we should not see technology as a means to an end (instrumental). However we should neither see it as a human activity. Both approaches are 'correct' but not 'true'. The essence of technology is something else entirely. Technology is a way of revealing (helping to come into being; disclosing reality)....

  • My summary of Jaspers’ view: The industrial revolution led to a complicated and functionalist organisation of society. In order to supply the needs of the ever-growing world population society had to be organised as a machine itself. This is called “the Apparatus” and led to a specific kind of social existence called “mass culture”. Technology turned human...

  • About the "demonism of technology": Population growth, mechanisation and functionalism are key ingredients for Jaspers' idea of the powerlessness of human beings and the "demonism of technology". However, Jaspers ideas developed over decades. In his later work (1951), he explicates that the demonic character of technology is caused by the way we treat it and...

  • It is interesting to put the turning point in Jaspers’ thinking into historical context (the aftermath of WWII, the two atomic bombs). His old theory made people powerless; it will not help to make the world a better place. The reorientation can be understood in relation to the question of guilt. Technology cannot guide itself; “it is us that let this happen....

  • Great to see people sharing more links for further readings in the comments! The report by the Rathenau Instituut is quite a long read... It really is not a required reading (considering the estimated workload; 4 hours of weekly study for this course). However, if you are interested, I think it gives a nice overview of what digitalisation entails. There are...

  • @KerryQuinn Thanks for sharing your thoughts and the links! We will indeed refer to Luciano Floridi's work on bioethics principles & AI ethics principles in week 4!

  • Nice to hear you are also following these developments! You might be interested in reading this "message to parliament" by the Rathenau Instituut: https://www.rathenau.nl/nl/berichten-aan-het-parlement/grip-op-de-digitale-samenleving-van-morgen

  • @AníbalMartínez Thanks for sharing your thoughts! Philosophy of technology is very broad and can hardly be characterised in terms of central questions and aims. The philosophical reflection on technology can for instance focus on the nature of technology (neutrality, the relation to science), societal and ethical aspects of technology (responsibility) or the...

  • Roos de Jong made a comment

    Glad to hear that many of you appreciate the glossary. I can also imagine it is quite overwhelming, to read through it. Please don’t study too much on the glossary, if it’s only "step 2" for you.. You will learn more about the terms in the next steps, and you can revisit the list whenever you want! And of course, it is not an exhaustive list, so let’s discuss...

  • Thanks for the introductions so far! Great to see so many active learners with different backgrounds and nationalities. We have joiners from Brazil, Israel, Colombia, Pakistan, Italy, US, Sweden, UK, Syria, India, Turkey, France, Nigeria, Ireland, Australia, Germany, Canada, and the Netherlands!

  • That's a nice question, actually ;) What do you observe when you are reading the comments so far? How would you define "technology"? It's a bit of a side track, but it is interesting to think, for instance, about the relation between science and technology. Sometimes we see science as the basis for technology: first you need knowledge, and then you can apply...

  • Interesting comments so far! Some of you refer to technologies as a 'double-edge sword': on the one hand technologies enable you to get things done easier or faster, and enhance human capabilities, but on the other hand they also create new problems or challenges. Let's try to describe some specific technologies and clarify their influence on your daily life...

  • @MargaViljoen Thank you for your comment! I like your question "whose ethics is 'right'?". Just to help you out: normative ethics is concerned with questions about how people ought to act (right conduct, good life). Ethics is about human behaviour and has to do with concepts such as autonomy, intentionality and freedom. As we learned this week, technologies...

  • @RH Ah! Let me take this opportunity to say something about my current work at the Rathenau Instituut ;) The Rathenau Institute is an organisation in the Netherlands for technology assessment and supports the formation of public and political opinion on socially relevant aspects of science and technology by conducting research and organising debates on...

  • Thanks for sharing your ideas! It is nice to also see the overlap between the phenomenological and the post-phenomenological tradition, this week. Ihde, for instance, is building off of Heidegger’s example of the hammer when he describes the embodiment relationship. The hammer becomes an extension of our arm, just as a pen becomes an extension of our hand when...

  • Indeed, the hermeneutical approach (focus on how reality is present for human beings; the way the world is interpreted) and existential approach (focus on how we are present in the world; the way we realise our existence) can be seen as two different starting points for discussing the human-world relationship. The first starts on the "world-side", the latter...

  • Hi Hesam Mohamadi, being confused is part of being enrolled in a philosophy course ;) Sometimes it helps to just read some texts over and over.

    In this step we try to explain that a designer or manufacturer usually has a particular kind of use in mind. In the case of the gun, this probably was not "go ahead and kill people"; it would be interesting to think...

  • Maybe I can clarify this by making some general remark on mediation. The concept of mediation has been used in various contexts and by various authors, ranging from Hegel to McLuhan and from Plessner to Latour. In all cases, it indicates a contrast with 'immediacy': mediation occurs when there is a relation involved since that relation requires a 'medium' to...

  • @MiguelAlbergaria Thanks for sharing your ideas about this. I must admit I have never particularly studied Heidegger's interpretations of medieval thought. The point I wanted to clarify for this (very brief!) introduction into his thinking is that the meaning of 'being' changes throughout history. Do you think that this line of reasoning still holds up?

  • @StuartMargison Yeah... our attitude towards nature... That would be an interesting topic for another course!

    Heidegger talks about the "ultimate danger"; that reality - including human beings - can only be present as raw material (resources), as standing reserve". He feared that at some point in time, we could only approach the world in a controlling and...

  • @FrancisEbbs I am fine with that! You can of course also refer to the report which is freely accessible online. Great to hear you are developing a workshop about ethics and technology. I hope this course is helpful to you!

  • @AnnaPesta No problem you joined a bit late! With a free account, you have access to this course for 5 weeks (so up until the 7th of June). I cannot answer your question... there are so many technologies everywhere! And there are no real 'strict' categories. Many technologies are used in various contexts. Just think about the countless possibilities of...

  • Hi Scott Hawley, I think it helps to link this to the basics of phenomenology. It rejects the scientific method (which aims at knowledge about the object, independent from the subject, by means of repeated observation and experimentation). The starting point in phenomenology is that there is no such sharp distinction between subjects (human beings, observers)...

  • @MaceOjala Thanks for your reply. We will elaborate on this in the next two weeks as well (when we talk more about postphenomenology). I agree, of course, that we should absolutely not disregard the role of the user! We can, for instance, still have very different kinds of relationships with our furniture and the games we play.

  • @ChristianeGrünloh It is interesting indeed to put the turning point in Jaspers’ thinking into historical context (the aftermath of WWII, the two atomic bombs). His old theory made people powerless; it will not help to make the world a better place. The reorientation can be understood in relation to the question of guilt. Technology cannot guide itself; “it is...

  • I guess it is still easy to relate to Jaspers observations of alienation and enslavement today. It is harder to become attached to the material world as you can find an identical piece easily (e.g. your IKEA furniture is the same as mine). Besides, we are often not addressed as unique individuals (we play the same videogames and go to the same movies)....

  • About the "demonism of technology": Jaspers ideas developed over decades. Population growth, mechanisation and functionalism are key ingredients for Jaspers' idea of the powerlessness of human beings and the "demonism of technology". In his later work (1951), however, he explicates that the demonic character of technology is caused by the way we treat it and...

  • According to Jaspers, technology is an independent power that had been summoned into existence by human beings but has now turned against them (“demonism of technology”). However, technology can only turn against human beings, when human beings interpret it as an end in itself. The demonism isn't an intrinsic property of technology, but only came into being as...

  • @HesamMohamadi Jing Hwan Khoo comments are very helpful I think! Let me just give you my summary of Jaspers’ view: The industrial revolution led to a complicated and functionalist organisation of society. In order to supply the needs of the ever-growing world population, society had to be organised as a machine itself. This is called “the Apparatus” and led to...

  • In addition, according to Heidegger, there is a difference between modern and ancient technology. This is not a matter of complexity, nor is it about what is more recent or the newest. What they reveal is different; the world has changed.

    Ancient technology = bringing forth (the old bridge is not blocking the river, it lets the river "be").

    Modern...

  • @IbrahimNoorani You could interpret this "will to power" as a "will to mastery". When "the will to power" is the basis for the ways in which humans understand the world, any attempt to develop an alternative form of understanding will inevitably only reaffirm that same will to power: it is a form of exerting power over the will to power. The only answer, then,...

  • @MiguelAlbergaria Thanks for noticing this issue of isolating that "us" from the technology. You will learn more about this in week 2. The scientific method usually takes the sharp distinction between the subjects (human beings, the observer) and the objects (technology, the observed) as a starting point. We will discuss how subjects and objects can instead...

  • Heidegger, therefore, directs himself to the ruling interpretations of what it means to 'be". The meaning of being is not fixed but changed throughout history, and according to Heidegger turns out to be a progressive “forgetting of being”:

    Whereas the ancient Greeks still thought of “being” as “coming into being”, for Plato “being” began to mean the...

  • @IbrahimNoorani Heidegger argues that we should not see technology as a means to an end or as a human activity. Both approaches are "correct" but not "true". The essence of technology is something else entirely: technology is a way of revealing or “helping to come into being”. Technology brings about a specific kind of relationship between human beings and...

  • When describing the way in which technologies shape our lives and society as a whole, it is interesting to think of the difference between intended and unintended outcomes indeed. But also different intentions and ambitions; think of short-term problem solving vs moonshot innovation projects or serendipity.

    For every technology, you can think about the...

  • Great to see your lines of thinking! I notice many of you mention smartphones, or other digital devices and gadgets being influential technologies. There are, of course, also more intangible or more invisible technologies. Someone mentioned medical technologies and how they change relationships with our bodies. And I read some comments about the impact of...

  • I can imagine the list of terms is quite overwhelming. They will all be clarified in videos and articles in the coming steps. Please let me know if you need extra clarifications at some point!

  • Great to hear you like it! :)
    Please feel free to share it; the animation is also available on YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FVhrLwBNbvU

  • It not possible to do the MSc programme online; you would have to come over to the University of Twente, in the Netherlands. You can join the Online Open Day on May 15 (https://www.utwente.nl/en/online-open-day/) and take a virtual campus tour :)

  • It's interesting to note that, according to Heidegger, there is a difference between modern and ancient technology. This is not a matter of complexity, nor is it about what is more recent or the newest. What they "reveal" is different; the world has changed. Ancient technology = bringing forth (the old bridge is not blocking the river, it lets the river "be")....

  • Absolutely! Heidegger also explains that the meaning of being is not fixed; it changes throughout history. This history, according to him, turns out to be a progressive “forgetting of being”.

    Whereas the ancient Greeks still thought of “being” as “coming into being”, for Plato “being” began to mean the embodying an idea, which forms the “essence” of an...

  • I agree that it is still easy to relate to his observations about mass production (and alienation and enslavement) today. It is harder to become attached to the material world as you can find an identical piece easily (e.g. your IKEA furniture is the same as mine). Besides, we are often not addressed as unique individuals (we play the same videogames and go to...

  • It is interesting to put the turning point in Jaspers’ thinking into historical context (the aftermath of WWII, the two atomic bombs). His old theory made people powerless; it will not help to make the world a better place. The reorientation can be understood in relation to the question of guilt. Technology cannot guide itself; “it is us that let this happen....

  • @DianaPennink STS stands for "science and technology studies" or "science, technology and society". It is the interdisciplinary study of how society, politics and culture affect scientific research and technological innovation, and how these, in turn, affect society, politics and culture.