[ExI] Philosophy Tech Support

Anders Sandberg anders at aleph.se
Sun Oct 26 09:57:24 UTC 2014

spike <spike66 at att.net> , 25/10/2014 8:01 PM:


 That comic has me thinking of its counterparts.  What if we could set up a help-hotline analogous to a tech-help, but for people having philosophy questions?  I don’t see why not: we already have suicide-prevention hotlines and things that are not really tech help.  So why not a philosophy help hotline?
"What is the meaning of life?""What kind of answer would you like?""I just want to get an answer!""42. Seriously, you need to have an idea of what type of answer that would make sense for that question.""But I don't know!""Aha! So you don't know whether 42, this discussion, or love is the right kind of answer?""Well, 42 clearly *isn't*.""Even better. You know something useful here. Let's dig in..."

   If data is coming across it, does it really change the temperature of the line? 
Given that bits have entropy, you can cool a line using a string on low-entropy bits.

Back to philosophy for a minute, the whole notion of a philosophy tech-hotline is aptly named, for it raises more questions than answers.
There is actually a serious need for a good philosophy of technology. Something named that already exist, but it mostly consists of philosophers like Heidegger and Ellul who give lengthy arguments why technology is bad for us. But there is a need for a good theory of how technology develops in the large, unifying history of technology with issues like big history (how much is inevitable?), growth theory (how fast does it go and why?), futures-oriented issues (like singularity studies, exploratory engineering, physical eschatology and their philosophical issues), and so on. Of course, once we get it to *work* it will no longer be philosophy. 

Anders Sandberg, Future of Humanity Institute Philosophy Faculty of Oxford University
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