Nolen Gertz - "Nihilism and Technology" - Zachary McDowell

Friday, March 29, 2019 - 6:00pm - 7:00pm
Event Presenter/Author: 
Nolen Gertz

Nolen Gertz and Zachary McDowell discuss Nihilism and Technology

At the Co-op

RSVP HERE (Please note that your RSVP is requested but not required.)

About the book: Heidegger, Marcuse, and Ellul warned against the rise of a technological mass culture. Philosophy of technology has since turned away from such dystopic views, promoting instead the view that we shape technologies just as technologies shape us. Yet the rise of Big Data has exceeded our worst fears about Big Brother, leading us to again question whether technologies are empowering us or enslaving us.

Rather than engage in endless debates about whether technologies are making us better or making us worse, Nolen Gertz investigates what we think “better” and “worse” mean, and what role this thinking has played in the creation of our technological world. This investigation is carried out by using Nietzsche’s philosophy of nihilism in order to explore the ways in which our values mediate how we design technologies and how we use technologies. Examining our technological practices—practices ranging from Netflix and Chill to Fitbit and Move to Twitter and Rage—reveals how our nihilism and our technologies have become intertwined, creating a world of techno-hypnosis, data-driven activity, pleasure economics, herd networking, and orgies of clicking.

About the author: Nolen Gertz is Assistant Professor of Applied Philosophy at the University of Twente, and a Senior Researcher at the 4TU.Centre for Ethics and Technology. He is the author of The Philosophy of War and Exile (Palgrave-Macmillan 2014). His work has appeared in The Atlantic, The Washington Post, and ABC Australia.

About the interlocutor: Zachary McDowell is an Assistant Professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago in the Department of Communication. His work intersects with areas of information access and equity, digital literacy, security, public policy, and digital culture. His current work examines disinformation and information literacy, focusing on Wikipedia, as well as issues around discriminatory information practices. Zach is a founder and Editor of the Open Access journal communication +1.

Event Location: 
Seminary Co-op Bookstore
5751 S. Woodlawn Ave
Chicago, IL 60637