OLLI at San Francisco State University
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Ethics and Politics of New Technology
:Or What Becomes of Humanity in a Wildly Wired World? David Peritz Technology touches almost everyone and modifies nearly every aspect of human life. However..since at least the splitting of the atom...the implications of rapid technological change have far outpaced our political and ethical capacities to determine what we should and should not want to do with our technology. Constant and rapid technological innovation and the integration of computers into more and more everyday objects has created a world where technological change occurs so fast that it is often hard to even keep track of what the latest applications do—and do to us. We have fundamentally altered the human condition, but in what respects is this for the better or the worse? In this course we will focus primarily on recent technological innovations, especially social media, the internet of things, the sharing economy and the management of many activities of everyday life by programs and applications. We will evaluate their implications for some of the most durable and precious aspects of human life, including our identities and social relations, privacy and politics, work and equality, always focusing not only on technology but also its evaluation. Ultimately we will aim to ascertain whether we can use the possibilities this technology contains to make our selves and our world better—and, if so, how? Week 1: Is Biotechnology Fundamentally Altering the Human Condition? On the Possibility of a ‘Post-human Future’ Week 2: What New Technologies are Doing To Human Identity, Personality and Social Life Week 3: What New Technologies Do the Mind and the Brain, and to Thought, Concentration and Intelligence Week 4: What New Technologies are Doing To Democracy and Culture Week 5: Using New Technologies to Improve Our World (and Making Space for Old-Fashioned Conversation) Week 6: Reconceptualizing Activism and the Public Sphere: From Viral Engagement to Slactivism David Peritz has a DPhil in Politics from Oxford University, where his studies were supported by a Marshall Scholarship. He is Co-Chair of the Politics Department at Sarah Lawrence College, and a regular visiting faculty member in the Master of Arts of Liberal Studies program at Dartmouth. He has also taught at UC Berkeley, Harvard, Cornell and Deep Springs, and was a visiting scholar at Erasmus University in Rotterdam and the London School of Economics. His research specialization is modern and contemporary political philosophy, especially contemporary theories of democracy and justice and their relations to issues of diversity and inequality.
This class is not available at this time.