Project on Humane Use of Human Attention
AI-based technologies (including “simple” apps) increasingly battle for human attention (Davenport & Beck, 2001) as they become the motor for optimizing marketing targets and customer behavior. These technologies manipulate (Fogg & Hreha, 2010; Fogg & Iizawa, 2008) user attention as the entry point for influencing human thinking, attitude formation and behavior. Counter-movements have analyzed the problematic and disruptive nature of this attention economy: loss of autonomy and increased addiction (Ertemel & Aydin, 2018), adverse effects on how our brain works (Carr, 2011) and even ‘downgrading humanity’ (Center for Humane Technology, n.d.). However, these counter-movements struggle to formulate an alternative answer of ‘humane technology’. Very interestingly, some philosophies mention the practice of striving for attention as a solution to come to an anticipated human condition. Canonical Buddhist sources focus on concepts such as awareness and equanimity (e.g., Analayo, 2004; Goenka, 1999) and Western philosophy mentions concepts such as ataraxia (Epicurus) or authenticity (Sartre, 1983), to mention only a few.
The project aims to use this literature to critically reinterpret the current concepts of ‘attention’, ‘autonomy’ (Brown et al., 2015) and ‘economy’ (Brown, 2017) and will investigate whether these reinterpretations can support a normative foundation for humane technology. The project (1 year, 50%) is exploratory in nature. The main tasks are to submit 1 article to a relevant journal and to submit an application for follow-up funding. Connections can be made with ongoing projects on customer behavior (i.e. scalings.eu) or the ethics of socially disruptive technologies (https://www.esdt.nl/).
Your application should contain the following documents:
If you are interested, we invite you to apply before August 14, 2020. Interviews will be held shortly thereafter (week of August 24). To apply please use the 'apply now' button. Please note that a maximum of 1 document can be uploaded, so you will have to combine the documents asked above. Please do not send us applications by e-mail.
For further information on the project and the position, please contact Gunter Bombaerts (firstname.lastname@example.org)
More information about the Philosophy and Ethics Department at TU/e can be found at https://www.tue.nl/en/research/research-groups/philosophy-ethics/.
Information about the terms of employment can be obtained from Kim van Puijenbroek, HR advisor (email@example.com ). Further information about Eindhoven University of Technology can be found at www.tue.nl.