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Accepted Paper:

Technological utopianism and the notion of justice  
Martin Sand (TU Delft)

Short abstract:

The talk will present an argument for the positive value of technological utopias and their relation to the idea of justice without denying the risks of engaging with them.

Long abstract:

Most technological developments are accompanied with unrealistic expectations and promises. Some of these expectations take the shape of bold predictions and they are driven by corporate interests. Perhaps, in this way, they fulfill distinct functions to orient decision-making in complex societies (Beckert 2016). Others, however, take a more distinct narrative form and envision how technology and society might be reshaped in the future. We might consider those as technological utopias - despite the vagueness of the term. Is it worth it - as STS scholars and philosophers of technology - to study and engage with those narratives? This question as I will argue can be answered positively insofar as technological utopias could advance discussions about justice. In my presentation, I will outline three ways in which technological utopias can do this. Taken together, this will provide reasons for STS scholars and philosophers of technology to consider technological utopias. These reasons are distinct from reasons to embrace any particular technological utopias or even consider them models or blueprints for the governance of technologies in the present. Hence, my talk considers the methodological question: Are technological utopias worthy objects of study for STS and philosophy of technology?

Traditional Open Panel P250
Understanding and interpreting technology in STS and Philosophy of Technology
  Session 2 Friday 19 July, 2024, -