Digitocracy: Ruling and Being Ruled
2. Does Digital Technology Make Us Better?
3. Ruling: Global Algorithm Governance
3.1. Homo Faber’s Post-Modern Ruling
3.2. Technologies of Perception: A Threat against Common Sense?
“Our certainty that what we perceive has an existence independent of the act of perceiving depends entirely on the object’s also appearing as such to others and being acknowledged by them. Without this tacit acknowledgment by others we would not even be able to put faith in the way we appear to ourselves”  (p. 46).
3.3. The Limits of Formal Language and Information
“All our pride in what we can do will disappear into some kind of mutation of the human race; the whole of technology, seen from this point, in fact no longer appears ‘as the result of a conscious human effort to extend man’s material powers, but rather as a large-scale biological process’”  (p. 53).
“Under these circumstances, speech and everyday language would indeed be no longer a meaningful utterance that transcends behaviour even if it only expresses it, and it would much better be replaced by the extreme and in itself meaningless formalism of mathematical signs”  (p. 53).
4. Being Ruled: Animal Digitalis and Endless Communication
4.1. Animal Features and the Process of Animalisation of Digital Technology Man
4.2. Loneliness and Reduction to Present
“The beast, just as far as it is moved by the senses and with very little perception of past or future, adapts itself to that alone which is present at the moment; while man—because he is endowed with reason […] draws analogies, and connects and associates the present and the future—easily surveys the course of his whole life and makes the necessary preparations for its conduct”  (MCMXIII, I, 4).
4.3. A Note on Digital Freedom of Speech or Free Reach?
5. Conclusions: Towards a Postmodern Humanism?
Conflicts of Interest
- Pasquale, F. The Black Box Society: The Secret Algorithms That Control Money and Information; Harvard University Press: Cambridge, MA, USA, 2015. [Google Scholar]
- Sadin, E. La Siliconisation du Monde: L’irrésistible Expansion du Libéralisme Numérique; L’échappée: Paris, France, 2016. [Google Scholar]
- Han, B.-C. Psychopolitics: Neoliberalism and New Technologies of Power; Butler, E., Translator; Verso: London, UK; New York, NY, USA, 2017. [Google Scholar]
- Zimmerman, A.; Di Rosa, E.; Kim, H. Technology Can’t Fix Algorithmic Injustice. Available online: http://bostonreview.net/science-nature-politics/annette-zimmermann-elena-di-rosa-hochan-kim-technology-cant-fix-algorithmic (accessed on 13 April 2020).
- Floridi, L.; Cowls, J.; Beltrametti, M.; Chatila, R.; Chazerand, P.; Dignum, V.; Luetge, C.; Madelin, R.; Pagallo, U.; Rossi, F.; et al. AI4People—An Ethical Framework for a Good AI Society: Opportunities, Risks, Principles, and Recommendations, Atomium; European Institute for Science, Media and Democracy: Brussels, Belgium, 2018. [Google Scholar]
- Bartosch, U.; Bauberger SJ, S.; von Damm, T.; Engels, R.; Rehbein, M.; Schmiedchen, F.; Stapf-Finé, H.; Sülzen, A. Policy Paper on the Asilomar Principles on Artificial Intelligence; Federation of German Scientist (VDW): Berlin, Germany, 2018. [Google Scholar]
- Floridi, L.; Dewandre, N.; Broadbent, S.; Ess, C.; Ganascia, J.-G.; Hildebrant, M.; Laouris, Y.; Lobet-Maris, C.; Oates, S.; Pagallo, U. The Onlife Initiative. Background Document: Rethinking Spaces in the Digital Transition. In The Onlife Manifesto: Being Human in a Hyperconnected Era; Floridi, L., Ed.; Springer Open: Basel, Switzerland, 2015; pp. 41–48. [Google Scholar]
- McLuhan, M. Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man; MIT Press: Cambridge, MA, USA, 1994. [Google Scholar]
- Postman, N. Technopoly: The Surrender of Culture of Technology; Vintage Books: New York, NY, USA, 1992. [Google Scholar]
- Verbeek, P.-P. Understanding and Designing the Morality of Things; University of Chicago Press: Chicago, IL, USA, 2011. [Google Scholar]
- Han, B.-C. La Emergencia Viral y el Mundo de Mañana. Available online: https://elpais.com/ideas/2020-03-21/la-emergencia-viral-y-el-mundo-de-manana-byung-chul-han-el-filosofo-surcoreano-que-piensa-desde-berlin.html (accessed on 13 April 2020).
- Schüll, N. Addiction by Design: Machine Gambling in Las Vegas; Princeton University Press: Princeton, NJ, USA, 2014. [Google Scholar]
- Harris, T.; Raskin, A. Should’ve Stayed in Vegas. In Your Undivided Attention; Interview with Natasha Schüll; Center for Humane Technology: San Francisco, CA, USA, 2019; pp. 1–17. [Google Scholar]
- Arendt, H. The Human Condition, 2nd ed.; The University of Chicago Press: Chicago, IL, USA; London, UK, 1998. [Google Scholar]
- Dewandre, N. Rethinking the Human Condition in a Hyperconnected Era: Why Freedom is Not about Sovereignty Buy about Beginnings. In The Onlife Manifesto: Being Human in a Hyperconnected Era; Floridi, L., Ed.; Springer Open: Basel, Switzerland, 2015; pp. 195–215. [Google Scholar]
- Heidegger, M. The Principle of Reason; Lilly, R., Translator; Indiana University Press: Bloomington, IN, USA, 1991. [Google Scholar]
- Stevens, L.B. Why Silicon Valley CEOs Raise Their Kids Tech Free. 2019. Available online: https://wezift.com/parent-portal/blog/why-tech-ceos-raise-their-kids-tech-free (accessed on 13 April 2020).
- Tan, C.-M. Search inside Yourself; Harper One: San Francisco, CA, USA, 2014. [Google Scholar]
- Sharkey, N.; van Wynsberghe, A.; Robbins, S.; Hancock, E. Our Sexual Future with Robots; A Foundation for Responsible Robotics Consultation Report; Foundation for Responsible Robotics: The Hague, The Netherlands, 2017. [Google Scholar]
- Singh Dang, S. Artificial Intelligence in Humanoid Robots. Available online: https://www.forbes.com/sites/cognitiveworld/2019/02/25/artificial-intelligence-in-humanoid-robots/#b8ba8df24c72 (accessed on 13 April 2020).
- Ballesteros, J. La constitución de la imagen actual del hombre. Tópicos Rev. Filos. 1998, 15, 9–29. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Taylor, C. Sources of the Self: The Making of the Modern Identity; Harvard University Press: Cambridge, MA, USA, 1989. [Google Scholar]
- Kempf, J.A. Silicon Valley Monk: From Metaphysics to Reality on the Buddhist Path; Dharma Gates Publishing: Cazadero, CA, USA, 2014. [Google Scholar]
- Han, B.-C. Philosophie des Zen-Buddhismus; Reklam: Leipzig, Germany, 2002. [Google Scholar]
- Arendt, H. The Life of the Mind; Harvest Book: San Diego, CA, USA; New York, NY, USA; London, UK, 1978. [Google Scholar]
- Pariser, E. The Filter Bubble: What the Internet Is Hiding from You; Penguin: London, UK, 2012. [Google Scholar]
- Berkowitz, R. Drones and the Question of ‘The Human’. Ethics Int. Aff. 2014, 28, 159–169. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Pharo, P. Le Capitalisme Addicctif; Editions PUF: Paris, France, 2018. [Google Scholar]
- López Moratalla, N. Inteligencia Artificial ¿Conciencia Artificial? Digital Reasons: Madrid, Spain, 2017. [Google Scholar]
- Steadman, I. Big Data and the Death of the Theorist. Wired, 25 January 2013. [Google Scholar]
- Arendt, H. The Conquest of Space and the Stature of Man. New Atlantis 2017, 18, 43–55. [Google Scholar]
- Han, B.-C. The Burnout Society; Stanford Briefs: Stanford, CA, USA, 2015. [Google Scholar]
- Ballesteros, A. Hannah Arendt: From Property to Capital… and Back? Archiv Rechts Sozialphilosophie 2018, 2, 184–201. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Han, B.-C. Transparenzgessellschaft; MSB Matthes & Seitz Verlag: Berlin, Germany, 2012. [Google Scholar]
- Horkheimer, M.; Adorno, T.W. Dialectic of Enlightment: Philosophical Fragments; Jephcott, E., Translator; Stanford University Press: Stanford, CA, USA, 2002. [Google Scholar]
- Arendt, H. The Origins of Totalitarianism; Harvest: Orlando, FL, USA, 1994. [Google Scholar]
- Turkle, S. Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other; Basic Books: New York, NY, USA, 2011. [Google Scholar]
- Arendt, H. Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil; The Viking Press: New York, NY, USA, 1963. [Google Scholar]
- Cicero. De Officiis; Miller, W., Translator; McMillan: London, UK; New York, NY, USA, 2014. [Google Scholar]
- Virilio, P. Cybermonde, la Politique du Pire; Textuel: Paris, France, 1996. [Google Scholar]
- Ballesteros, J. La postverdad: O las mentiras que nos gustan. In Para una Nueva Cultura Política; Masferrer, A., Ed.; Catarata: Madrid, Spain, 2019. [Google Scholar]
- DiResta, R. Computational Propaganda: If you make it trend, you make it true. Yale Rev. 2018, 106, 12–29. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Harris, T.; Raskin, A. Down the Rabbit Hole by Design. In Your Undivided Attention; Interview with Guillaume Chaslot; Center for Humane Technology: San Francisco, CA, USA, 2019; pp. 1–19. [Google Scholar]
The spirit of Eastern thought and the ever-increasing digital connections blur distinctions between humans, animals, and artefacts in the so-called technological ecosystem.
Pasquale talks about a third kind, outside the scope of this paper: Finance technologies.
There is at least one objection to this. The selection of information happens in a large number of contexts; e.g., when my wife asks me to pick a restaurant, I do select between restaurants. This process might be compared to the Google engine when I search for a restaurant for myself. Google gives me the websites I will like most, in the same way I do with my wife’s restaurants. I would suggest that the main difference is that the Google engine has the purpose of making me more dependent, which leads to asymmetry and a lack of intelligibility of the results. These features are not present in a reasonable wife–husband relationship. I thank a reviewer for this food-for-thought critique.
A classic example of the first is the program AlphaGo, the program that managed to beat Fan Hui, European Champion of the game Go. Go is a more complex game than chess; thus, AlphaGo (or its designer, Demis Hassabis) went even further than Deep Blue had twenty years previously when it beat Kasparov in a game of chess.
Will this change the moment AI works without so much information? The moment AI knows how to influence a person with a “look” on his face? Is this digitalisation just the one that machine learning needs today?
In the same book, Han points out that digital man, with his multi-tasking, is like a wild animal. He is animal-like. A few pages later, in the chapter “Vita activa”, he neglects the Arendtian description of current man as an animal .
“Your Undivided Attention”, podcast on digitalisation from a humanist perspective, by Tristan Harris and Aza Raskin (Center for Humane Technology).
One important objection to all of this is: How can something that requires us to be humans (such as AI, e.g., Netflix recommendations) make us less than human? I would say because it considers humanity as something that applied mathematics can convey. It considers humans in species terms. I would say this reveals another element of dehumanisation, that is, to forget unpredictability. Can AI predict the rejection of AI?
© 2020 by the author. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
Share and Cite
Ballesteros, A. Digitocracy: Ruling and Being Ruled. Philosophies 2020, 5, 9. https://doi.org/10.3390/philosophies5020009
Ballesteros A. Digitocracy: Ruling and Being Ruled. Philosophies. 2020; 5(2):9. https://doi.org/10.3390/philosophies5020009Chicago/Turabian Style
Ballesteros, Alfonso. 2020. "Digitocracy: Ruling and Being Ruled" Philosophies 5, no. 2: 9. https://doi.org/10.3390/philosophies5020009