Will the Robots Win? Promises and Perils of Technology in Society

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Will the Robots Win? Promises and Perils of Technology in Society

March 3, 2015 @ 6:00 pm - 7:45 pm

| Stevenson College, Room 175 | Free

Technology is ubiquitous. Computers and phones impact our daily rhythms, communicative abilities, and cognitive energies. Consider being hospitalized, flying from one country to another, or taking a prescription medicine. Or think about the police searching big databases, or the government military-industrial complex and its automated war machines. Or imagine the potential of nanotechnology, transhumanism, and artificial intelligence. Technology is powerful.

Which effects does technology have on our individual psychology, and on our social values celebrating freedom, diversity, and the pursuit of happiness? Can it help us lead healthier, fuller, and more democratic lives? Which dark sides does technology have, and how might it inflict pain and violence?

Come join us for a broad-ranging conversation on technology and on its ethical, political, religious, and social dimensions. The panelists are scientists and philosophers who have thought deeply about the promises and strengths—and perils and weaknesses—of technology. The public is free to ask questions and challenge all of us on urgent matters.

This event is free and open to the public.


Scott Lokey received his undergraduate degree from Trinity University in San Antonio, TX. Here, he cultivated a strong interest in both the sciences and the humanities. During his time at Trinity University, Scott developed an interest in Chemistry, which he pursued to receive his PhD at the University of Texas, Austin. After receiving his PhD, Scott spent time away from academia traveling the world. Upon his return to the US, Scott began a Post Doc at Genentech in San Francisco. Afterwards, he pursued a second Post Doc at the Institute of Chemistry and Cell Biology at Harvard Medical School. Finally, in 2002, Scott joined UCSC as a Chemistry Professor and started his own research lab. Currently, Scott and his lab are researching new drug paradigms, hoping to develop drugs that go beyond typical drugs which pass through the cell membrane. Scott and his lab study membrane permeability in molecules that are traditionally considered to be too large to be used in drugs. He has strong interests in consciousness studies and Buddhism.

Andrew Sivak is a doctoral candidate in History of Consciousness at UCSC. He is interested in political theory, theology, and William Blake. His courses include “Nuclear Criticism,” “The Adventure of French Philosophy,” and “Prophecy Against Empire.”

Fabrizzio McManus Guerrero studied Biology in the Faculty of Sciences at UNAM from 2000 to 2004 and wrote, as his undergraduate thesis, a taxonomic revision of the genus Jatropha (fam. Euphorbiaceae). From 2004 to 2006 he was a masters student in the Program in Philosophy of Science also at UNAM. There he wrote his master thesis focusing on the philosophical problems of phylogenetic reconstruction. His masters thesis won two prizes: the Norman Sverdlin prize for best philosophy thesis in 2006, and the UNAM prize medal “Alfonso Caso.”He started his doctorate in the same program in 2006. In his dissertation, he analyzed homosexuality in the context of philosophical accounts of mechanistic explanation and biopower.He successfully defended (with honors) his dissertation in November 2010: La homosexualidad a la luz de la filosofía de la ciencia: Mecanismos biologicos, subjetividad y poder (Homosexuality in Light of the Philosophy of Science: Biological Mechanisms, Subjectivity, and Power).

Octavio Valadez is a doctoral candidate in Philosophy of Science at UNAM in Mexico City, with the project “Complexity and Transdisciplinarity: Theory and practice of cancer as a complex problem.” Octavio obtained his B.Sc. degree in Basic Biomedical Research at Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM) with his thesis work “Cancer as a complex disease: networks and levels of organization” (2008), with Germinal Cocho Gil as advisor. In 2010, he obtained his Masters in Philosophy from the UAM-Iztapalapa and was awarded the UAM academic merit medal. His thesis (advised by Mario Casanueva) addressed the scientific explanation of cancer based on the model of “part-whole science” proposed by Rasmus Winther (2011, Synthese), which develops a pluralistic research horizon. His main academic interests are the complexity of cancer, as this problem cannot be understood, much less solved, if we do not consider and articulate the philosophical, sociological, historical and political aspects involved.

Rasmus Grønfeldt Winther is Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of California, Santa Cruz (UCSC). At UCSC he is also affiliated faculty with the Department of Psychology and the Department of Latin American and Latino Studies. He was previously an assistant professor at UNAM and a part-time guest researcher at the Niels Bohr Institute in Copenhagen. His degrees are from Stanford University (Philosophy) and Indiana University (History and Philosophy of Science; Ecology and Evolutionary Biology). Winther works in the philosophy of science and the philosophy of biology, and has strong interests in metaphysics, philosophy of mind, the history of philosophy, comparative philosophy, and the philosophy of multiculturalism. To date he has published over 40 articles in journals both in philosophy of science and philosophy of biology and in science more generally. Winther has held over 60 lectures at international conferences in Australia, Denmark, Germany, Mexico, South Africa, UK, USA, and at universities including Berkeley, Cambridge, Humboldt (Berlin), London School of Economics, MIT, University of Chicago, as well as venues like Google. He is the PI of the “Philosophy in a Multicultural Context” Research Cluster, a collaborative research project involving UC Santa Cruz, UC Davis, and Stanford University. Currently, he is working on maps in science and philosophy, and the science and philosophy (and art) of maps: http://ihr.ucsc.edu/when-maps-become-the-world/


March 3, 2015
6:00 pm - 7:45 pm
Event Category:
Event Tags:


Philosophy in a Multicultural Context


Stevenson College, Room 175
Stevenson College
Santa Cruz, CA 95064 United States
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