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Quo Vadis Technology?

Friday, 06 Mar 2020

"All Watched Over By Machines Of Loving Grace" is the title of a poem from the late 1960s. In it, the poet Richard Brautigan envisions a

"cybernetic meadow
where mammals and computers
live together in mutually
programming harmony
like pure water
touching clear sky. "

Interestingly, he also speaks of a "cybernetic ecology" where we are "free of our labors" and "joined back to nature" - "all watched over by machines of loving grace". A very inspiring poem, which even became the title of a 3-part film series by acclaimed BBC documentary essayist Adam Curtis in 2011.

Fast forward to 2020: machines (of not so loving grace) and their masters, mostly male and white, watch all over us and exploit their users like humans exploit their industrial agriculture animals. Data farms and dating apps, algorithms and tracking devices - the sheer amount of collected data is frightening, but humans choose to be part of these systems voluntarily.

But this is only one side of the coin. Technology can also be very self empowering and can help a lot of people to do what hasn't been done before. From P2P (peer to peer) to Open Source Soft- and Hardware, from Cyborg visions to post-colonialist stategies: the panelists will share their experiences with and visions of technology and human interaction of the future.

This panel discussion is part of Re-Imagine Europe.

Re-Imagine Europe

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