Philosophy Colloquium Series
The Philosophy Department Colloquium Series and Virginia Tech's Ethics Week present a talk by Diane Michelfelder, professor at Macalester College.
"Should your Volvo be your mother?
Some thoughts on technological paternalism and design"
As more and more technologies become Internet-enabled and are designed to incorporate biometric sensors, chips, and screens, they not only become "smarter" but also open up more opportunities to make decisions for us, including decisions ostensibly for our own good but which we may perceive as intrusive or forced. The prospects of such "technology paternalism" (Spikermann and Pallas, 2006) raise important ethical questions of transparency, autonomy, agency, and responsibility. Recent work in cognitive science and psychology has underscored the extent to which we as humans often make poor judgments and questionable choices. To what extend should we outsource our decision-making to smart technologies so they can outsmart us?