Many in the popular press lament dehumanization by technology. There are frequent calls for regulation and pleas for people to just wake up and resist. For decades, going on a century, there have been claims that technology, automation, and management practices are turning humans into machines.
From Taylorism to Fordism to their modern incarnations, there has been a consistent series of evolving technologies, practices, and corresponding claims about dehumanization. Still, we have no available means for evaluating such claims. We have no scientific methodology for identifying, measuring, or evaluating dehumanization in general, much less as a function of the technologies that we use. Technology and humanity are abstract and complex; their interdependence is not easy to discuss and evaluate. There are incredible definitional obstacles and evidence is nonexistent because we don’t know what exactly to measure or how to evaluate what we see.
In Re-Engineering Humanity (Cambridge University Press, April 19, 2018), Brett Frischmann and Evan Selinger develop a framework for identifying and evaluating the relationships between technology and humanity. In this talk, Frischmann will describe their proposal for a fundamental and radical repurposing of the Turing test. The subjects of their radically repurposed Turing are humans. The goal is to identify and evaluate when technology is dehumanizing. In this context, machines serve as a baseline against which to evaluate humans.
About the speaker:
Brett Frischmann is The Charles Widger Endowed University Professor in Law, Business and Economics at Villanova University. He is also an affiliated scholar of the Center for Internet and Society at Stanford Law School, and a trustee for the Nexa Center for Internet & Society, Politecnico di Torino.
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