Nolen Gertz and David Gunkel discuss Nihilism and Technology
At the Co-op
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About the book: Heidegger, Marcuse, and Ellul warned against the rise of a technological mass culture. Philosophy of technology has since turned away from such dystopic views, promoting instead the view that we shape technologies just as technologies shape us. Yet the rise of Big Data has exceeded our worst fears about Big Brother, leading us to again question whether technologies are empowering us or enslaving us.
Rather than engage in endless debates about whether technologies are making us better or making us worse, Nolen Gertz investigates what we think “better” and “worse” mean, and what role this thinking has played in the creation of our technological world. This investigation is carried out by using Nietzsche’s philosophy of nihilism in order to explore the ways in which our values mediate how we design technologies and how we use technologies. Examining our technological practices—practices ranging from Netflix and Chill to Fitbit and Move to Twitter and Rage—reveals how our nihilism and our technologies have become intertwined, creating a world of techno-hypnosis, data-driven activity, pleasure economics, herd networking, and orgies of clicking.
About the author: Nolen Gertz is Assistant Professor of Applied Philosophy at the University of Twente, and a Senior Researcher at the 4TU.Centre for Ethics and Technology. He is the author of The Philosophy of War and Exile (Palgrave-Macmillan 2014). His work has appeared in The Atlantic, The Washington Post, and ABC Australia.
About the interlocutor: David J. Gunkel is an award-winning educator and scholar, specializing in the ethics of new and emerging technology. He is the author of over 75 scholarly articles published in journals of communication, philosophy, interdisciplinary humanities, and computer science. He has published nine books--Hacking Cyberspace (Westview Press, 2001), Thinking Otherwise: Philosophy, Communication, Technology (Purdue University Press, 2007), Transgression 2.0: Media, Culture and the Politics of a Digital Age (Continuum, 2011), The Machine Question: Critical Perspectives on AI, Robots, and Ethics (MIT Press, 2012), Heidegger and Media (Polity, 2014), Of Remixology: Ethics and Aesthetics After Remix (MIT Press, 2016), The Changing Face of Alterity: Communication, Technology and Other Subjects (Rowman & Littlefield, 2016), Gaming the System: Deconstructing Video Games, Game Studies and Virtual Worlds (Indiana University Press, 2018), and Robot Rights (MIT Press, 2018). He has lectured and delivered award-winning papers throughout North and South America and Europe and is the founding co-editor of the International Journal of Žižek Studies and the Indiana University Press book series Digital Game Studies. Dr. Gunkel currently holds the position of Presidential Teaching Professor in the Department of Communication at Northern Illinois University. His teaching has been recognized with numerous awards, including NIU's Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching Award in 2006 and the Presidential Teaching Professorship in 2009.
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