The notion of technological power is fast becoming an object of both academic and policy discourses. Within such discourses one can observe several different senses of power being employed, especially when viewed from a multi-disciplinary angle. This demonstrates the need for the creation of a cross-disciplinary and integrative framework for identifying and clarifying different conceptions of the relations between technology and power. In this respect, the book aims to offer an empirically-informed philosophical framework for understanding the technological construction of power, which allows for a differentiated vocabulary for describing various senses of technological power, while bridging together social and political theory, critical studies of technology, philosophy and ethics of technology. In addition, the framework presented in this book aims to contribute to better critical and ethical evaluation of technologies and their powers. Any adequate ethics or critique of technology must be based on a better, clearer, and more nuanced and differentiated understanding of the many ways in which technology can be described as ‘powerful’.
Chapter 1: Four Views of Power
Chapter 2: Episodic Power and Technology
Chapter 3: Dispositional Power and Technology
Chapter 4: Systemic Power and Technology
Chapter 5: Constitutive Power and Technology
Chapter 6: Power in the Ethics of Algorithms
Chapter 7: Power and Ethics: Conceptual Connections
Chapter 8: Power and Ethics: Practical Implications
Dr. Faridun Sattarov received his PhD in philosophy of technology from the University of Twente. He has been a research fellow at the UNESCO Bioethics and Ethics of Science Section, University of Liverpool School of Law, Technological University of Eindhoven and University of Twente. He is an affiliate member of the 4TU.Centre for Ethics of Technology.
Power and Technology presents a framework for talking about the social relations of technology and power. In the first half of the book Sattarov provides a thorough review of the literature on theories of power. The breadth is excellent, and the author does not get bogged down in canon or author favorites. The literature review builds an understanding of tools and approaches at one's disposal in talking about technology and power. In the second half of the book Sattarov applies these approaches in addressing the relations of technology and power in the ethical context. There is an excellent discussion of algorithms and how they are laden with ethical and cultural assumptions that help maintain the status quo of power relations. In more abstract chapters, the author pulls in many examples to look at how power and ethics are manifest in technology. This book will be an excellent resource for those interested in the intersection of technology and power, and could also be useful in the classroom. . . it is assembled in a very accessible and usable fashion.
Summing Up: Highly recommended. Upper-division undergraduates through faculty and professionals.
In this thoughtful and intelligent book, Sattarov develops a comprehensive framework for understanding the relationship between power and algorithms. The nuanced approach to power taken here allows for an understanding of many relationships between power and algorithms rather than a simple, essentialist view of algorithmic power. This approach offers an invaluable contribution to understanding power in our algorithm-infused world.
Sattorov’s empirically grounded inter-disciplinary work sheds much needed light on the dynamics of power and provides us with the tools that will enable us to better grapple with the illusions of democratization and empowerment that often surround discourses on new technologies, innovation and intelligent machines. The distinctions he provides and the narratives he weaves into his thesis will provide a solid foundation for much needed research on the hidden resistances of power and the dangers of uncritically embracing technological solutionism.
With his conceptual analysis of the nexus between technology and power, Faridun Sattarov has contributed to addressing what is most certainly one of the most urgent topics of our time. A convincing argument for a pluralist approach to power and a must read for philosophers of technology.
"The most thorough treatment to date of the important issue of the relation between technology and power"