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online ESDiT-session: Dan Nixon “Just Perceive: How Phenomenology and the Arts Can Guide Us in the Tech Era”
8 March @ 11:00 - 12:30
“Just Perceive: How Phenomenology and the Arts Can Guide Us in the Tech Era”
Online seminar series on “Attending as practice in the attention economy”
Wed March 8th 11:00 AM-12:30 PM CET
Interested in attending?
Please write to Secretariat.P&E@tue.nl which of these sessions you want to attend (no need to reaffirm if you have done so earlier). You will then receive a link to join the online seminar.
Aim: Within the ESDiT (Ethics of Socially Disruptive Technologies) project, the working group on “Attention Economy” organizes an online seminar-series on “Attending as practice in the attention economy”. The online series aims to contribute, using philosophy and ethics, to constructively critique the attention economy (the tech industry’s business model that treats human attention as a commodifiable resource).
Dan Nixon is a writer, researcher and mindfulness teacher. His work focusses on themes around the attention economy, phenomenology and contemplative practices and he has led projects in these areas for NGOs including Perspectiva (see here) and the Mindfulness Initiative (see here). Previously, he spent a decade at the Bank of England, where his essays on “mindful economics” and the “crisis of attention” were widely picked up by the mainstream media. Dan holds graduate degrees in Economics (University of Cambridge), Global Studies (Sophia University) and Philosophy (University of Wales Trinity Saint David), in the latter case receiving the highest grade awarded in the history of the programme.
Moderator: Madelaine Ley (TU Delft)
All Speaker of the series
The first three sessions were a great success.
- Peter Hershock on “Intelligent Technology, the Attention Economy, and the Risks of Consciousness Hacking: A Buddhist Perspective”, and
- Silvia Caprioglio Panizza on “Grounding ethics through attention: Murdoch, Weil, and Zen Buddhism”
- Soraj Hongladarom on “Toward an Ethics of Attention” (online soon)
The next sessions will be:
|Monday April 17th, 13-14:30 CEST||Sebastian Watzl||‘The Commodification of Attention. An analysis and ethical assessment’|
|Tue May 9th, 11:00 AM-12:30 PM CET||Tom Hannes||“The attention of ethics”|
|Mon Jun 19th, 13:00 -14:30 CEST
|Matthew Dennis||“Repurposing Persuasive Technologies for Digital Well-Being”|
Recent publications from the ESDiT Buddhist ethics working group
Bombaerts, G., Anderson, J., Dennis, M., Gerola, A., Frank, L., Hannes, T., Hopster, J., Marin, L., & Spahn, A. (2023). Attention as Practice: Buddhist Ethics Responses to Persuasive Technologies. Global Philosophy, 33(2), 25.
Hannes, T., & Bombaerts, G. (2023). What does it mean that all is aflame? Non-axial Buddhist inspiration for an Anthropocene ontology. The Anthropocene Review, 20530196231153930.
We are looking forward meeting you!
Gunter Bombaerts, Joel Anderson, Matthew Dennis, Lily Frank, Tom Hannes, Jeroen Hopster, Madelaine Ley, Lavinia Marin, Alessio Gerola and Andreas Spahn
The “attention economy” refers to the tech industry’s business model that treats human attention as a commodifiable resource. The libertarian critique of this model, dominant within tech and philosophical communities, claims that the persuasive technologies of the attention economy infringe on the individual user’s autonomy and therefore the proposed solutions focus on safeguarding personal freedom through expanding individual control.
While this push back is important, it uncritically accepts the framing of attention as a scarce commodity, giving rise to incomplete assessments of the moral significance of attention, and obscuring richer sets of ethical strategies to cope with the challenges of the attention economy.
We step away from a negative analysis in terms of external distractions and aim for positive answers, by approaching attention as practice.
The series engages with speakers from all kinds of backgrounds (philosophy on authors like Iris Murdoch, Martha Nussbaum, Simone Weil, Merleau-Ponty, Harry Frankfurt, or Buddhist ethics …; psychology; artificial intelligence; …).
Questions that will be central in the online series:
1-What do attention and related concepts mean in the “attention economy”?
2-How is attention a basis for or related to morality?
3-How can attention (and related concepts) be built in the design of the attention economy in a humane way?
To answer this last question, we think the philosophical debate should turn from a negative to a positive focus:
- From “What are the distractions?” to “How can wisdom practices, virtues, … support a desirable form of attention?”;
- From “I must take back control of my attention” to “How can we use attention for flourishing, wisdom, …?”;
- From reacting against “promising (false?) free comfort” to supporting “acceptance of necessary effort”; and
- From “increasing individual needs in the attention economy” to support “collective or intentional joint attention in the attention ecology”.
About the OZSW event calendar
The OZSW event calendar lists academic philosophy events organized by/at Dutch universities, and is offered by the OZSW as a service to the research community. Please check the event in question – through their website or organizer – to find out if you could participate and whether registration is required. Obviously we carry no responsibility for non-OZSW events.