Do we control technology or does technology control us?

Do we control technology or does technology control us?

Advances in technology are often relied upon to address global challenges, from world hunger to climate change and the energy crunch.

But do advances in technology also mean our futures are predetermined by the decisions we make now?

Dr Brian Brock will consider the impact of technology upon our thoughts and ideas in the next instalment of the University of Aberdeen’s popular Café Controversial series on Monday (November 7).

Dr Brock, from the School of Divinity, History and Philosophy, will explore how technology in our everyday lives, such as cars and computers, alters the way in which we lead our lives and the ways in which it might dictate our futures.

He said: “I will consider the work of the philosopher George Grant who analyses the phrase ‘computers do not impose on us the ways they should be used’. He was writing in the 1970s before computers came into every sphere of our lives

“In what sense are we genuinely free to choose our technological future? Once certain decisions have been made, how do they shape the future choices we still have open to make?

“My main interest will be to explore what our options might be given this dilemma.”

Dr Brock will focus specifically on the future for Aberdeen after oil. This, he argues, is a window of opportunity in which mundane decisions will deeply shape and constrain the futures possible for Aberdeen and its citizens.

“Because decisions about development are not only technical but also political questions I will explore several contemporary rival visions for Aberdeen after oil, from Union Square Gardens to Donald Trump’s golf course,” Dr Brock added.

“The aim will be to elucidate what is at stake in these rival visions for the future of the citizens of Aberdeen.”

Café Controversial expands the University of Aberdeen’s popular Café series of informal events which see top experts in their field dealing with topical issues in science.

Technology and the Futurewill take place at 7pm on November 7 at Tramsheds Coffee House, Satrosphere Science Centre, Constitution Street, Aberdeen. Entry is free.

For further details please visit www.abdn.ac.uk/science/public/cafescience/

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