Moved by Machines : Performance Metaphors and Philosophy of Technology book cover
1st Edition

Moved by Machines
Performance Metaphors and Philosophy of Technology

ISBN 9780367245573
Published July 30, 2019 by Routledge
164 Pages 3 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

Given the rapid development of new technologies such as smart devices, robots, and artificial intelligence and their impact on the lives of people and on society, it is important and urgent to construct conceptual frameworks that help us to understand and evaluate them. Benefiting from tendencies towards a performative turn in the humanities and social sciences, drawing on thinking about the performing arts, and responding to gaps in contemporary artefact-oriented philosophy of technology, this book moves thinking about technology forward by using performance as a metaphor to understand and evaluate what we do with technology and what technology does with us.

Focusing on the themes of knowledge/experience, agency, and power, and discussing some pertinent ethical issues such as deception, the narrative of the book moves through a number of performance practices: dance, theatre, music, stage magic, and (perhaps surprisingly) philosophy. These are used as sources for metaphors to think about technology—in particular contemporary devices and machines—and as interfaces to bring in various theories that are not usually employed in philosophy of technology. The result is a sequence of gestures and movements towards a performance-oriented conceptual framework for a thinking about technology which, liberated from the static, vision-centred, and dualistic metaphors offered by traditional philosophy, can do more justice to the phenomenology of our daily embodied, social, kinetic, temporal, and narrative performances with technology, our technoperformances.

This book will appeal to scholars of philosophy of technology and performance studies who are interested in reconceptualizing the roles and impact of modern technology.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction

2. Dancing with Technology: How Machines Move and Choreograph Us

3. Acting with Technology: How Machines Act and Direct Us

4. Making Music with Technology: How Machines Play and Conduct Us

5. The Magic of Technology: How Machines Create and Manage Our Illusions

6. Thinking with Technology: How Machines Stage Our Thinking

7. Conclusion

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Mark Coeckelbergh is Full Professor of Philosophy (Philosophy of Media and Technology) at the University of Vienna and part-time Professor of Technology and Social Responsibility at De Montfort University, UK. He is President of the Society for Philosophy and Technology, member of the High Level Expert Group on Artificial Intelligence of the European Commission, and member of the Robotics Council that advises the Austrian Federal Transport, Innovation, and Technology administration. He also contributes to ethics work of IEEE and the Foundation for Responsible Robotics.

An experienced book writer and researcher, he is the author of 9 monographs, including Growing Moral Relations (2012), Human Being @ Risk (2013), Environmental Skill (Routledge, 2015), Money Machines (2015), New Romantic Cyborgs (2017), and Using Words and Things (Routledge, 2017).


"This unique and innovative book changes the very framework for doing philosophy of technology by introducing and developing a performance-based method of analysis. It is a moving investigation of how machines move, how this movement shapes our understanding of their social position and status, and how we, in turn, are moved by our technology."David J. Gunkel, Northern Illinois University, USA