Denison University’s Department of Philosophy and the Titus-Hepp Lecture Series welcomes Tim Aylsworth from Florida International University presenting “Collective Autonomy and the Attention Economy.”
A lot has been said about the harmful effect technology can have on us as individuals, but might it also cause us harm on a larger scale? The literature on how tech harms individuals covers everything from the use of racially biased algorithms in the criminal justice system to our diminished capacities of self-regulation from problematic smartphone use. But in restricting our focus to the ways that technology can harm us as individuals, we overlook some morally significant harms that affect us as groups. In this presentation, I will defend the claim that addictive technology weakens our capacity to act autonomously as a group by arguing that certain features of the attention economy threaten to undermine the legitimacy of political institutions.
Aylsworth is an assistant professor of philosophy at Florida International University in Miami. He specializes in Kantian ethics with a special focus on topics involving autonomy, manipulation, collective action, and the ethics of technology. He is working on a book called Kantian Ethics and the Attention Economy, where he argues that we have moral reasons to restructure our relationship with addictive technologies like smartphones and social media.