Criticism of the Automatic Reason

Digital world development, under the impetus of various actors, as well as its implications in territories and modifications of behaviours it induces, gives rise to discourses and reactions which often diverge in a fundamental way. Considered as being the origin of a ‘‘third industrial revolution’’ this ‘’passage’’  to the digital would bring a set of transformations similar to those involved in the switch from oral to written, then from written to printed. However, while the changes are obviously large, the implications are diverse, contradictory and difficult to identify: globalization and relocation of the economy; disintermediation and emergence of new mediations; reconfiguration of public and private spaces; privacy requirement and widespread exploitation of personal data by GAFAM; announcement of a society of knowledge and fake news; ‘‘enhanced’’ governance and algorithmic control; new entrants such as alternative media, but also new monopolies; ‘‘immaterial’’ or ‘‘virtual’’ economy and new extractivism (rare metals, toxic substances, consumption of energy and matter); new forms of ‘’liberated’’ work (third places, nomadism, cognitive capitalism) and precarious work (uberization, digital labor, microwork). All these elements, covering plural domains, make us think of the profusion of the issues and problems raised by the digital world, at all levels of contemporary societies, but also the need to build a collective, transdisciplinary and committed criticism.

Works are now numerous, as much as affected areas are diverses. While being able to support collective intelligence, the new digital tools are also able to generate a ‘‘systemic stupidity’’. ‘‘Automation of lives’’ they produce (Stiegler, 2015) or the growth of the ecological destruction of the world, are just few examples. Meanwhile, the digital deployment was accompanied by discourses on the emergence of a new form of collective intelligence that was not unfounded. But the recent weight of the ‘‘smart’’ themes (smart city, smart nation, smart grid, etc) reduces ‘‘intelligence’’ to an incantatory formula covering various technological attempts to transform and control territories. And the sustainability of digital systems, the establishment of new binding technological oligopolies, major distortions in economy and ecology of attention are all potentially destructive phenomena for intelligences (individual and collective) and for the planet. If we reject a purely computational, systematised and automated approach to intelligence, how should we approach it? Under which conditions can the collective become a lead of intelligence? Does the use of digital change the elements of the problem? How? In which proportions? The role of digital has been emphasized during political events such as the Arab revolutions, the Occupy movements, the ‘‘Gilet Jaunes’’, and so on. But does it mean digital was necessary for these events to happen? André Gorz spoke of digital as a crossroad-technology(1983, 2003, 2008), being able to allow a repossession of the production tools, thought as fundamentally heteronomous. Should we follow him?

This symposium will be the moment to consider the interlacings between different problematic strata of the ‘‘digitalization of the world’’, without neglecting a central element: all these intelligences must always exist in an anchored way, which leads us to highlight the concept of territory. It will not be understood in the purely physical sense, but also in its ecological, administrative, political, ethical and existential  dimensions (Guattari, 1989), the ‘‘order of the environment’’ (Berque, 2000) or the transindividual (Simondon, 2017). We would like to explore these new territories and their intelligences (using tools of architecture, urban planning and design) to go beyond the smart territories, in its flat and ‘‘stupid’’ sense of massive deployment of all kinds of digital devices. The aim of this conference is to allow us to better position ourselves in this vast field of academic and industrial research by relying on a multitude of experiences, skills and experiments that will come from this critical community  we want to help bring out.

This symposium gives itself an inaugural dimension, insofar as it aspires to be the first step towards the constitution of an international and transdisciplinary epistemic community on the subject.

Good in Tech

Good in Tech


ARTEC/Université Paris 8
ENSA/AUSSER : ACS Paris Malaquais
IMT Mines d’Alès
ISST/Université Paris 1

LCSP/Université de Paris

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