Relating to Things that Relate to Us
Our world is thoroughly textured by technological things. Many of these things can now be described as digital, networked, computational, and ‘smart’. Even as they are often manifested as things we can hold in our hands, their (mostly hidden) internal processes and systemic interconnections make them significantly different from relatively more straightforward things that we have been used to in the past. They also pose fundamental challenges for understanding what they are and what they do, how they relate to us and to each other. More specific questions that now emerge include: How should we relate to and make sense out of things that withdraw or are not fully accessible to us on the basis of our own intentionality and experience; that actively relate to and in some cases ‘use’ us; and that can actively relate to each other in ways that do not involve us at all (and thus might call for innovative analytic methods)? And what are the implications of the above? These are the problematics that the project will engage from the main approaches of philosophy of technology and design theory. The complexities of these contemporary connected things and their relations call for bringing multiple perspectives to bear in conversation with each other. This is the kind of conversation that we will catalyse and stage, with the goal of generating critical scholarship for real-world impact.