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BMAB

Overly saturated discourses in the public sphere about emerging technologies and the optimistic prophecy that surrounds it have held our imagination under siege, under the spell of a new theology. This leaves us no mental space for 'epistemological' contemplation and reflection, only able to react to its immediate effects. Physicist Richard Feynman pointed out the dialectic split of human beings learning about the world: either driven by concepts (epistemological) or tools (science and technology), 'if our discoveries are driven by concepts, we tend to explain the old stuff from a new angle, if it’s driven by tools, we end up explaining what we have created or discovered.'

The distinct human condition of essentially not being able to coexist with our natural environment has led us to invent tools to increase our natural capacity and to change our environment. In the classic scene from Stanley Kubrick's '2001: A Space Odyssey', at the dawn of civilization, apes accidentally discovered that apiece of leg bone could be used as a weapon. The film shows the bone transformed into a gigantic space craft drifting in the darkness of space. Itis precisely this conceptualization of tool/weapon that has been a driving force for humanity up until today: space travel, synthetic intelligence, transhumanism and so on. This drive is not without consequential by-products: environmental catastrophes, legions of machines, data, software, intelligence covering the surfaces of earth, the rise of urbanisation, polarisation of wealth and resources distribution, robotics and the impact on the labour market, data privacy, the reality of the virtual, democratisation of cyberspace, mind uploading, human energetic editing, biogenetical inequality...

The question lies not in how closely we are approaching the singularity from a future horizon, but of true relevance are all the questions about the implementation of the current available technologies and the newly emerged potentially impacted ethical zones. Embedded in this are the essential questions such as: how/who will use it, who will benefit and who will decide? It’s unavoidable to quote Zizek here: 'The ethical‘ought’ is not the obstacle in the path of modern science but a guide, an epochal constellation of value and understanding occurring in the social-political realm that emancipates itself from the naive resignation included by the deterministic causality of rationalisation.' Under the moniker of an 'Ethics of technology', this exercise attempts to bring the thinkers, technologists, artist, and practitioners across all fields - every one of us affected together - to discuss the re-articulation and re-configuration of the ethical orders and the distribution of technology’s sensibility.

新科技及其将对未来人类命运和社会所带来的乐观预言充斥着我们的公共话语领域,其将我们置身于“新科技神学”的神秘咒语的同时,也使我们遭受到了一场想象力的围攻。此系列话语不仅紧迫而且嘈杂,并强行掠夺我们的思想空间。除了对科学技术所带来的影响做出应急反应之外,我们似乎无暇对其进行必要的“认识论”的沉思与反省。物理学家理查德·费曼指出我们人类认识世界的辩证二分法:由概念(认识论)或由工具(科学技术)驱动,“如果我们人类的探索和发现是由‘概念’所驱动,那我们则趋于用新的角度解释旧的东西;如果是被‘工具’所驱动,我们将会(用老的看法)解释我们的新发现与新创造出来的东西。”

人类与生俱来的局限性直接导致了我们无法和自然环境和谐共生,我们的生存本能则需要我们不断地发明制造工具,来弥补先天的不足,从而改变我们的生存环境使其适应人类。在斯坦利·库布里克的电影《2001太空漫游》的经典场景中:在人类文明之初,人猿在无意识探索中无意发现他们的腿骨可以被当作武器来使用,镜头里这根腿骨慢慢渐变为一艘巨型宇宙飞船,孤独地在漆黑外太空漫游。恰恰是这种对工具/武器的概念化继而驱动着我们走到了科技发达的今天:太空漫游、人造智能和超人类主义对工具(科技)的发明和使用推动了人类社会巨大进步,同时不可避免也带来了一系列未曾预见的后果:环境灾难、巨大的机器数据阵列、软件、波段、情报等层层叠叠地覆盖在地球表面上空,城市化进程加剧、财产与资源分配的两极分化、机器劳力对人力市场的潜在冲击、数据隐私、现实的虚拟化、网络空间民主化、意识上传、人类基因改写、基因物种不平等化等等。

从未来的角度看,我们并不想追问科技预言中的奇点临近与否,我们的真正问题是已有科技在现实应用所导致的一系列前所未有的伦理危机。如此类基础问题:谁可以使用,并如何使用,谁将受益,决定权在谁?因而在此不得不引用齐泽克的一句话:“伦理中‘应该(ought)’并不是通往现代科学之路上的绊脚石,而是其指导。正是这个在社会政治领域中形成的划时代的价值观与认知的关系体系,使其从一个理性化的因果(deterministic-causality)中解放出来,而不再盲从。”在“技术伦理”主题下,北京媒体艺术双年展旨在汇集社会领域的思想者、技术分子和先驱、艺术家以及各领域的实践者,同时包括我们每一个受影响的人,来一起探讨对伦理秩序的重新阐述和部署,以及对科技在社会中应用的敏感性(sensibility)再分配。