The Blurring Boundary of Biology and Technology: Man and Machine as Hybrids

Prof dr. Peter Paul Verbeek, University of Twente, on how to understand it

Organisator Studium Generale

di 20 januari 2015 20:00 tot 22:00

Locatie Impulse, building number 115
Stippeneng 2
6708 WE Wageningen
+31 317-482828

Synthetic Biology, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence and Deep Brain Stimulation: the NBIC wave (the technology convergence of Nano-, Bio-, Information Technology and Cognitive Science) is flooding us almost like a tsunami. Medicine in synthetic cells is transported to the exact right place in your body; Google Glass is updating your brain at the spot; by the weight of sperm cells a decision at front can be made between male or female offspring; etc. etc. We nowadays live in a technological culture where the difference between nature and technology is becoming diffuse. Is that exciting or frightening?

What then is this new techno –human condition? When we cannot see technology anymore as just an instrument; when technology is entangled in every nerve of our life-world; when technology transforms us, as much as we design technology?! Could we say we are in a hybrid, diffuse relation with technology: that human, nature and technology are in a heraclitic co-evolutionary process? But does that mean that technology constitutes us and actively prescribes our freedom? Does that mean that technology is moral and has ethics? Will it overpower us?