Presented by Eric Severson
Human beings have a long and tumultuous relationship with technology. We invent and refine tools, and then find we are changed by wielding them, and live in a world that has been reshaped by our tools in ways we did not anticipate. This presentation plays with a variety of works of fiction (Frankenstein, the Jewish legend of the Golem, various contemporary television shows and movies) and historical events to inspire conversation about our modern struggles with technology. Every generation faces its own crisis – technologically, the 21st century is being rattled by the ubiquity of smart phones, social media and the rampant digital mediation of human relationships. There are obvious and irrevocable benefits of these technological advances. However, the backside of these rapid developments includes uncharted ethical and psychological aftershocks. Smart phones are remarkably invasive and addictive, and present a tangible personal struggle for many people today.
This presentation will focus on the way the moral and psychological formation of a person is impacted by these forces. Philosophically, this conversation will be shaped by the work of Martin Heidegger and Emmanuel Levinas. The presentation will consist of a series of discussion starters; participants should be prepared to share their own experiences and expertise, both personal and professional, in dealing with the modern forces of digital technology.