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Accessible Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter Mouton 2018

24. Communication Technology and Perception

David J. Gunkel

Abstract

This chapter investigates a shift in perspective concerning communication and technology. In particular, it examines whether and to what extent the “Other” in communicative interactions may be otherwise than another human user and the moral opportunities and challenges this alteration makes available. Toward this end, the chapter proceeds in three steps or movements: The first will critically evaluate the way we typically perceive communication technology. It will, therefore, target and reconsider the instrumental theory, which characterizes technology as nothing more than a neutral tool serving human interests and objectives. The second will investigate the opportunities and challenges that computer technology poses to this standard default understanding. Recent developments with artificial intelligence, learning algorithms, and social robots exceed the conceptual boundaries of the instrumental theory and ask us to reassess who or what is (or can be) a legitimate social subject. Finally, and by way of conclusion, the third part will draw out the consequences of this material, explicating what this shift in perspective means for us, the other entities who communicate and interact with us, and the new social situations and circumstances that define life in the twenty-first century.

© 2018 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Munich/Boston