Technology & Society: social, philosophical and ethical implications for the 21st century

Francis Heylighen

This richly illustrated manuscript including an extensive bibliography forms the lecture notes of a course with the same title. This course tries to give the students a deeper insight into what technology is, and how it affects human life on this planet. Given how pervasive and dominant technological systems have become in this 21st century, it is important to understand the dynamics that propel its ever-faster development. It is especially important to understand, on the one hand, the negative effects and dangers of this development, so that we can mitigate or evade those, on the other hand, the benefits and promises, so that we can further promote and enhance them. These issues are reviewed from a systems/cybernetics perspective. The focus is on accelerating evolution, technology as mediator and human-technology symbiosis, leading up to the notion of a global superorganism.

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