Written by
Holistic AI
Category
Thought experiment,Digital ethics
Date
July 25th, 2022
From futurism to agency: On new digital technologies, historical speculation and agency
Screenshot of the title page of the white paper

Abstract. In this article, which is part of our Holistic AI thought experiment series, we frame the discussion of the impact of new digital technologies within the rubric of ‘futurism’, which we take to be a philosophy that speculates about where humanity is headed in light of new digital technologies. We outline different ways of thinking about the future and discuss the ‘problem of history’. Expanding on this point, we explore different ways of relating history and the future, namely theology, historical materialism, the notion of inevitability, progress, historicism, and messianism, and do so by drawing upon the work of Benjamin’s Theses on the Philosophy of History. Building on this, we argue that the future of novel digital technologies can be, and indeed should be, divorced from metaphysical speculation on historical determinism, and/or utopian/ dystopian fantastical thought. Instead, we hope to situate the discussions in terms of normativity regarding human agency i.e. whatever will come to be is a product of the human will.

Download the white paper here.

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