E.T.: Encuentros de Tecnopolítica y Tecnociencia
The Encounters of Technopolitics and Technoscience are seminars aimed at exploring the conflicts and contradictions of our time, a time marked by technopolitics and technoscience. The meetings will consist of debate, collective research or audiovisual sessions that will pose the challenges and risks of phenomena such as advances in artificial intelligence and automation, climate change, knowledge policies or the transformations of subjectivity in the network society. The sessions will also be used to produce publications for the websites of the two organising collectives, Tecnopolítica.net and Heurística.barcelona.
E.T., the extraterrestrial, the image of these meetings, is a cultural icon of the 80s. Perhaps it is such because it embodies a shared condition. For decades, the human species has been confessively extraterrestrial. Armstrong and Aldrin set foot on the Moon a long time ago. Soon, what was once a great step for humanity may be a mass consumption service: a profitable step for Elon Musk. Today we can state without hesitation that human beings have their feet not on the ground but in the air, suspended from the thousands of satellites orbiting the Earth's atmosphere. The foundations of our lives are no longer on the ground, the ancient metaphor of solidity, but on the fluid infrastructure of technology.
Modern capitalism, on the back of techno-science, has progressively wiped out the image of the Earth as the transcendental horizon of human action. All that is solid, a metaphor for security, stability and home, vanished into thin air. With it we become extraterrestrials, landless, thrown in or out of an accelerated modernity. From the industrial revolution onwards, neither Nature nor God served as cultural structures capable of embracing their unleashed forces. One of the results is the network society, a social system where the possibilities of communication and access to knowledge seem to increase exponentially. Another is the Anthropocene, an era in which humans have become geological force. Today it is the Earth that lives in our time, like everything that exists within it. But the protagonist of the Anthropocene (sometimes also called "Capitalocene" or even "Cthulucene") seems to be not so much the human being as capitalism, the technosciences and the technologies that it has contributed to generate. At the centre of this era are the technopolitical and socio-economic conflicts around them. Among the hopes is that of moving towards more democratic, egalitarian, sustainable and creative ways of building those technosciences and technologies and of building worlds with them.
The 1980s was not just the decade of E.T. They were also the years in which Bruno Latour announced the mutation of pure science into technoscience, the years in which Alvin Toffler declared the advent of the era of technopolitics. The links between science, technology and society were culturally recognized as engines of civilizatory change. Unifying Technopolitics and Technoscience into one T, as we do in the title of these sessions, is one way to reflect that Encounter.
Technosciences and technopolitics are today forms of life and battlefields for deciding the present and the future. The E.T.s are a territory to question them and to question ourselves: a place to explore issues ranging from the emergence of a fourth industrial revolution to the possibilities of democratisation of and through technologies; a place to question contemporary utopias and dystopias.
The Encounters are not only a place of thought but also of action. They are encounters in a third phase, beyond academia and the public sphere, between research and dissemination: they are a space for discursive action.
In short, and going back to the beginning, these Encounters are a collective space to explore the contradictions and conflicts of our era, marked by technopolitics and technoscience. A space to think and build new ways of being at home.
Sesion I (June). El caso Facebook: un análisis del capitalismo de datos.