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Three philosophical perspectives on the relation between technology and society, and how they affect the current debate about artificial intelligence

Authors
  • Poel, Ibo van de1
  • 1 Ethics and Philosophy of Technology Section Values, Technology & Innovation Department School of Technology, Policy and Management TU Delft Jaffalaan, 5 2628 BX , (Netherlands)
Type
Published Article
Journal
Human Affairs
Publisher
De Gruyter
Publication Date
Oct 09, 2020
Volume
30
Issue
4
Pages
499–511
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1515/humaff-2020-0042
Source
De Gruyter
Keywords
License
Yellow

Abstract

Three philosophical perspectives on the relation between technology and society are distinguished and discussed: 1) technology as an autonomous force that determines society; 2) technology as a human construct that can be shaped by human values, and 3) a co-evolutionary perspective on technology and society where neither of them determines the other. The historical evolution of the three perspectives is discussed and it is argued that all three are still present in current debates about technological change and how it may affect society. This is illustrated for the case of Artificial Intelligence (AI). It is argued that each of the three perspectives contributes to the debate of AI but that the third has the strongest potential to uncover blind spots in the current debate.

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