The telegraph cables are quite literally the nerves of humanity, just like nerves are cable installations in the animal body.
from Technology as Extension of Human Faculties (2000)
Philip Brey is professor of philosophy and ethics of technology at the Department of Philosophy, University of Twente, the Netherlands. He is currently also programme leader of the ESDiT (Ethics of Socially Disruptive Technologies), a ten-year research programme with a budget of € 27 million and the involvement of seven universities and over sixty researchers (www.esdit.nl). Esdit runs from 2020 to 2029.
In his research, Philip Brey investigates ethical aspects of emerging technologies, with a particular focus on information technology, robotics, biomedical technology and environmental technologies. He has developed major new approaches in ethics of information technology, including the anticipatory technology ethics (ATE) and ethical impact assessment (EIA) approaches for assessing ethical implications of new and emerging technologies, the disclosive computer ethics approach for studying values in design, the Ethics by Design approach for AI that is being used in the EU Horizon Europe ethics review procedure (with Brandt Dainow), the ETCOM approach for ethical guidance of emerging technologies, and new approaches for studying the implications of technology for well-being. He has been the first, or amongst the first, to do thorough academic studies of the ethical implications of emerging technologies like the World Wide Web, virtual reality technology, ambient intelligence, facial recognition systems, and 3D printing.
≈ 47 minutes
Marshall McLuhan, Ernst Kapp, and David Rothenberg have each written book-length studies developing theories of technology as an extension of bodily and mental faculties: tools act as prosthetics, amplifying the reach of arms or legs; computers extend memory, calculation, and other cognitive capacities. Philip Brey analyzes these extension theories and asks if the metaphor is valid. Do technologies truly stretch out innate human abilities, or is this mere rhetorical flair? Brey investigates whether there is a substantive sense in which gadgets and gizmos can be seen as extensions of natural human organs. As we increasingly integrate tech into our lives, addressing this question becomes pressing: where does the human end and the technical begin? Brey dives into this ambiguous intersection of person and product.