Philosophy of Engineering and Artifact
in the Digital Era

an exploratory workshop

2009 February 6-8
“Stefan cel Mare” University of Suceava

Colin Schmidt

Imagining Digitally-engineered Life.
Logical Constraints and Methodological Considerations "

This article is about the future role of machines in human society and evokes questions of an ethical nature in realms that traditionally remain "taboo" in short-term scientific literature. It is essential to understand that, in developing this logic, the author questions the very nature of the human being's status in the near future. A reductio ad absurdum-type approach is used to dismantle a popular theory: namely that the world would be a better place if we can fully simulate human life. But why do so? The ultimate goal in mind here is to change wide-spread practices in society with regards to thinking machinery by proposing realistic social scenarii to test it. If machinery is to be fully integrated into human society, what roles do we wish it to fulfill? How social are technological artefacts to be? Moreover, the practitioners in the fields of Artificial Intelligence, Human-Computer Interaction and Humanoid Robotics are explicitly called to respond to such argumentation, because generally they do not willingly respond to the ‘why question’. Coercing Man's fabrications of himself into the human realm becomes an illustrative exercise in establishing counter-examples to popular ‘techie’ cultural views. Correcting design stances will lead to appropriate vision for tomorrow’s sciences of the artificial.