2019 - 2020

  Philosophy of Technology  
Galit WellnerGilman-humanities282 Tue1800-2000 Sem  2
University credit hours:  2.0

Course description

Technologies are everywhere. Not only do they assist us in performing various actions, they also dictate how we move in the world, communicate with each other, decide, think, in short – technologies shape our worldview. Philosophy of technology is engaged in questioning this worldview and studying how it develops. Recently American faculties of engineering have realized the importance of the humanist point of view, and especially the philosophical questions, in development processes. Thus, courses in philosophy of technology are part of the Engineering curricula. This course was developed to answer similar needs in Israel, with a special focus on digital technologies.

In the course we will examine central themes in contemporary philosophy of technology through examples of digital technologies such as robots, autonomous cars, Internet-of-Things etc. The first meetings will be devoted to the technological evolution from tools to machines, and from machines to networked technologies. This historical background will provide the basis to discuss the various relations between humans and technologies. Next we explore a new understanding of ethics, free will and thinking in light of the emergence of smart technologies imbued with intuition and ability to solve complex problems. The last meetings will be devoted to a more socio-technical perspective. We will assess the new and intensive type of relations emerged from the introduction of sensors to everyday life and the construction of new types of reality – virtual reality, augmented reality and mixed reality. We will ask what is memory? What makes us human? How technologies shape society?

The course will provide the students with practical tools to: (a) understand the effects of technologies on its users and on society as a whole; (b) identify the powers that shape digital technologies of the 21st century; and (c) manage ethical and democratic research and development processes. 

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