Mark Coeckelbergh

Mark Coeckelbergh
University of Vienna | UniWien · Institut für Philosophie

Ph.D. in Philosophy

About

280
Publications
79,488
Reads
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3,310
Citations
Additional affiliations
December 2015 - present
University of Vienna
Position
  • Professor of Philosophy of Media and Technology (Full)
December 2015 - present
University of Vienna
Position
  • Professor of Philosophy of Media and Technology (Full)
February 2014 - December 2015
De Montfort University
Position
  • Professor (Full)
Education
October 1998 - July 2003
University of Birmingham
Field of study
  • Philosophy
October 1997 - July 1999
University of East Anglia
Field of study
  • Philosophy
September 1993 - July 1997
KU Leuven
Field of study
  • Political Sciences and Social Sciences

Publications

Publications (280)
Article
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Six commentaries on the paper "You, robot: on the linguistic construction of artificial others" articulate different points of view on the significance of linguistic interactions with robots. The author of the paper responds to each of these commentaries by highlighting salient differences. One of these regards the dangerously indeterminate notion...
Article
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Recently there has been more attention to the cultural aspects of social robots. This paper contributes to this effort by offering a philosophical, in particular Wittgensteinian framework for conceptualizing in what sense and how robots are related to culture and by exploring what it would mean to create an “Ubuntu Robot”. In addition, the paper ge...
Article
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Climate change is a global priority. In 2015, the United Nations (UN) outlined its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which stated that taking urgent action to tackle climate change and its impacts was a key priority. The 2021 World Climate Summit finished with calls for governments to take tougher measures towards reducing their carbon footprin...
Article
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The empirical turn, understood as a turn to the artifact in the work of Ihde, has been a fruitful one, which has rightly abandoned what Serres and Latour call “the empire of signs” of the postmoderns. However, this has unfortunately implied too little attention for language and its relation to technology. The same can be said about the social dimen...
Book
Political issues people care about such as racism, climate change, and democracy take on new urgency and meaning in the light of technological developments such as AI. How can we talk about the politics of AI while moving beyond mere warnings and easy accusations? This is the first accessible introduction to the political challenges related to AI....
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Assume that a researcher uncovers a major problem with how social media are currently used. What sort of challenges arise when they must subsequently decide whether or not to use social media to create awareness about this problem? This situation routinely occurs as ethicists navigate choices regarding how to effect change and potentially remedy th...
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After its rejection of the linguistic turn, influential strands in empirically-oriented philosophy of technology tend to neglect or are even hostile towards structuralist and transcendental approaches to technology. Drawing on Cassirer, Bourdieu, Wittgenstein, and Ricoeur, this article offers an account of the meaning of technologies that theorizes...
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Most accounts of responsibility focus on one type of responsibility, moral responsibility, or address one particular aspect of moral responsibility such as agency. This article outlines a broader framework to think about responsibility that includes causal responsibility, relational responsibility, and what I call “narrative responsibility” as a fo...
Article
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Does cruel behavior towards robots lead to vice, whereas kind behavior does not lead to virtue? This paper presents a critical response to Sparrow’s argument that there is an asymmetry in the way we (should) think about virtue and robots. It discusses how much we should praise virtue as opposed to vice, how virtue relates to practical knowledge and...
Article
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While today there is much discussion about the ethics of artificial intelligence (AI), less work has been done on the philosophical nature of AI. Drawing on Bergson and Ricoeur, this paper proposes to use the concepts of time, process, and narrative to conceptualize AI and its normatively relevant impact on human lives and society. Distinguishing b...
Chapter
Commercial brain-computer interfaces raise interesting critical political-philosophical and artistic questions. Drawing on our research and experiences with the “Neuromatic Game Art” project, and using critical theory from philosophy of technology (Feenberg), among other theories, this paper examines the power relations involved in the use of comme...
Article
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A humanoid robot named 'Sophia' has sparked controversy since it has been given citizenship and has done media performances all over the world. The company that made the robot, Hanson Robotics, has touted Sophia as the future of artificial intelligence (AI). Robot scientists and philosophers have been more pessimistic about its capabilities, descri...
Article
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The use of autonomous and intelligent personal social robots raises questions concerning their moral standing. Moving away from the discussion about direct moral standing and exploring the normative implications of a relational approach to moral standing, this paper offers four arguments that justify giving indirect moral standing to robots under s...
Article
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In response to my article “Earth, Technology, Language”, Christopher Müller asks whether use-oriented theory and Wittgensteinian language can capture the structural relations of power that shape habituation and argues that digital media do not provide opportunities for empowerment and democracy because there is no co-ownership. In my reply I argue...
Article
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In response to challenges to moral philosophy presented by other disciplines and facing a diversity of approaches to the foundation and focus of morality, this paper argues for a pluralist meta-ethics that is methodologically hierarchical and guided by the principle of subsidiarity. Inspired by Deweyan pragmatism, this novel and original applicatio...
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Purpose This paper aims to show how the production of meaning is a matter of people interacting with technologies, throughout their appropriation and in co-performances. The researchers rely on the case of household-based voice assistants that endorse speaking as a primary mode of interaction with technologies. By analyzing the ethical significance...
Article
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A correction to this paper has been published: https://doi.org/10.1007/s43681-021-00059-y
Article
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The recent incidents involving Dr. Timnit Gebru, Dr. Margaret Mitchell, and Google have triggered an important discussion emblematic of issues arising from the practice of AI Ethics research. We offer this paper and its bibliography as a resource to the global community of AI Ethics Researchers who argue for the protection and freedom of this resea...
Article
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Both designers and users of social robots tend to anthropomorphize robots. Focusing on the question how to conceptualize the relation between robots and humans, this paper first outlines two opposite philosophical views regarding this relation, which are connected to various normative responses to anthropomorphism and anthropomorphization. Then it...
Article
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Social robots are designed to facilitate interaction with humans through “social” behavior. As literature in the field of human–robot interaction shows, this sometimes leads to “bad” behavior towards the robot or “abuse” of the robot. Virtue ethics offers a helpful way to capture the intuition that although nobody is harmed when a robot is “mistrea...
Chapter
In this transdisciplinary paper we discuss the question whether trust in human-robot-interaction (HRI) can be gained by gamification. Therefore, the concept of credibility will be introduced. A specific focus is on the question concerning the implementation of ethical rules in robotic safety systems. With a focus on Wittgenstein as a philosopher of...
Chapter
This chapter offers a conclusion. Firstly, it presents a summary of the book; outlining the 3 bodies of theory we draw on in this book—narrative theory, philosophy of technology, and virtue ethics—and describing what was delivered on the basis of this work. Secondly, the chapter explores further directions for research on narrative theory of techno...
Chapter
This chapter translates the narrative ethics of technical practice into a method for practising ethics in research and innovation settings. Recent years have seen a proliferation of methods for practising ethics in research and innovation, and our method responds to certain shortcomings in these approaches. It offers three phases and nine stages, w...
Chapter
Chapter 5 develops a narrative ethics of technical practice. As such, it unfolds an account of the ethical aim of a technical practice, which enables us to distinguish between practices that cultivate the virtues and those that do not. Firstly, the chapter makes a detour through virtue ethics and its recent revival in ethics of technology, focusing...
Chapter
Chapter 3 explores Ricoeur’s hermeneutic concept of technical practice. It firstly introduces Ricoeur’s work, presenting Ricoeur as an eminent philosopher of mediation and discussing how he deals with language, temporality, and the social. Secondly, the chapter problematises the everyday understanding of the concept of technical practice. It establ...
Chapter
Chapter 4 develops an account of technological mediation that is based on Ricoeur’s narrative theory and linked to the theory of technical practice that was presented in Chap. 3. Firstly, it provides an exposition of Ricoeur’s narrative theory, in particular paying attention to the central theme of emplotment and the three stages of mimesis, the im...
Chapter
In order to develop a hermeneutic technology ethics, we need a narrative theory of technology and a normative theory, an ethics. This chapter does groundwork for both parts. Firstly, it identifies central gaps in contemporary philosophy of technology (in particular mediation theory): insufficient attention to the role of language, lack of sensitivi...
Article
In the era of digitalization, manufacturing companies expect their growing access to data to lead to improvements and innovations. Manufacturing engineers will have to collaborate with data scientists to analyze the ever-increasing volume of data. This process of adopting data science techniques into an engineering organization is a sociotechnical...
Article
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Artificial intelligence can and should help to build a greener, more sustainable world and to deal with climate change. But these opportunities also raise ethical and political issues that need to be addressed if this project is to be successful. For example, the use of AI and the required data centers may involve high energy consumption, vulnerabi...
Article
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Postphenomenology and posthermeneutics as initiated by Ihde have made important contributions to conceptualizing understanding human–technology relations. However, their focus on individual perception, artifacts, and static embodiment has its limitations when it comes to understanding the embodied use of technology as (1) involving bodily movement,...
Article
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This paper discusses the problem of responsibility attribution raised by the use of artificial intelligence (AI) technologies. It is assumed that only humans can be responsible agents; yet this alone already raises many issues, which are discussed starting from two Aristotelian conditions for responsibility. Next to the well-known problem of many h...
Book
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Artificial intelligence powers Google's search engine, enables Facebook to target advertising, and allows Alexa and Siri to do their jobs. AI is also behind self-driving cars, predictive policing, and autonomous weapons that can kill without human intervention. These and other AI applications raise complex ethical issues that are the subject of ong...
Chapter
Especially in the realm of technology, big data, and new media it is questionable if our traditional understanding of responsibility is able to face current challenges—mostly due to its restricted focus on the autonomous, self-sufficient, individual human being as the genuine responsible agent. The possibility of ascribing responsibility to artific...
Chapter
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This paper aims to contribute to the debate about ethical, legal, and social implications of robotics by discussing the meaning of autonomy. Robots are often labeled as autonomous, but what does “autonomy” in robotics actually mean? In order to answer this question, methods of conceptual analysis and language critique are applied. It turns out that...
Chapter
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Many discussions about robotics and Artificial Intelligence (AI) focus on far future scenarios such as superintelligence, but for the near future ethics of robotics AI it is necessary to think about more concrete ethical issues that pervade the daily use of the technologies. This talks gives a very brief overview of ethical and societal issues rais...
Book
This book proposes that technologies, similar to texts, novels and movies, ‘tell stories’ and thereby configure our lifeworld in the Digital Age.The impact of technologies on our lived experience is ever increasing: innovations in robotics challenge the nature of work, emerging biotechnologies impact our sense of self, and blockchain-based smart co...
Article
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Dreyfus’s work is widely known for its critique of artificial intelligence and still stands as an example of how to do excellent philosophical work that is at the same time relevant to contemporary technological and scientific developments. But for philosophers of technology, especially for those sympathetic to using Heidegger, Merleau-Ponty, and W...
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Robot-assisted therapy (RAT) offers potential advantages for improving the social skills of children with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs). This article provides an overview of the developed technology and clinical results of the EC-FP7-funded Development of Robot-Enhanced therapy for children with AutisM spectrum disorders (DREAM) project, which a...
Article
Purpose This paper aims to fill this gap (infra, originality) by providing a conceptual framework for discussing “technologies of the self and other,” by showing that, in most cases, self-tracking also involves other-tracking. Design/methodology/approach In so doing, we draw upon Foucault’s “technologies of the self” and present-day literature o...
Chapter
Responding to postphenomenology, going beyond postmodern obsessions with text and discourse, and using Wittgenstein, this chapter proposes a conceptual framework for addressing gender issues raised by technologies such as robotics and artificial intelligence. It is shown that technologies, through their use, are always connected to wider social and...
Book
There has been little attention to feminism and gender issues in mainstream philosophy of technology and vice versa. Since the beginning of the so-called »second wave feminism« (in the middle of the 20th century), there has been a growing awareness of the urgency of a critical reflection of technology and science within feminist discourse. But femi...
Book
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Robots are predicted to play a role in many aspects of our lives in the future, affecting work, personal relationships, education, business, law, medicine and the arts. As they become increasingly intelligent, autonomous, and communicative, they will be able to function in ever more complex physical and social surroundings, transforming the practic...
Article
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Usually technological innovation and artistic work are seen as very distinctive practices, and innovation of technologies is understood in terms of design and human intention. Moreover, thinking about technological innovation is usually categorized as “technical” and disconnected from thinking about culture and the social. Drawing on work by Dewey,...
Article
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In the philosophy of technology after the empirical turn, little attention has been paid to language and its relation to technology. In this programmatic and explorative paper, it is proposed to use the later Wittgenstein, not only to pay more attention to language use in philosophy of technology, but also to rethink technology itself—at least tech...
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This article examines ethical dimensions of Music Information Retrieval (MIR) technology. It uses practical ethics (especially computer ethics and engineering ethics) and socio-technical approaches to provide a theoretical basis that can inform discussions of ethics in MIR. To help ground the discussion, the article engages with concrete examples a...
Article
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Virtue ethics offers a promising starting point for thinking about ethics of technology. Usually, virtue ethics of technology focuses on explaining how we can cultivate our technomoral virtues to cope with technological change. However, it is not clear yet how exactly technologies in turn mediate technomoral virtues, or more precisely how the techn...
Article
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Contemporary ICTs such as speaking machines and computer games tend to create illusions. Is this ethically problematic? Is it deception? And what kind of “reality” do we presuppose when we talk about illusion in this context? Inspired by work on similarities between ICT design and the art of magic and illusion, responding to literature on deception...
Article
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The work of Ludwig Wittgenstein is seldom used by philosophers of technology, let alone in a systematic way, and in general there has been little discussion about the role of language in relation to technology. Conversely, Wittgenstein scholars have paid little attention to technology in the work of Wittgenstein. In this paper we read the Philosoph...
Article
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This paper tries to understand the phenomenon that humans are able to empathize with robots and the intuition that there might be something wrong with “abusing” robots by discussing the question regarding the moral standing of robots. After a review of some relevant work in empirical psychology and a discussion of the ethics of empathizing with rob...
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In this paper, we engage in a philosophical investigation of how blockchain technologies such as cryptocurrencies can mediate our social world. Emerging blockchain-based decentralised applications have the potential to transform our financial system, our bureaucracies and models of governance. We construct an ontological framework of “narrative tec...
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This special issue introduces the study of financial technologies and finance to the field of philosophy of technology, bringing together two different fields that have not traditionally been in dialogue. The included articles are: Digital Art as ‘Monetised Graphics’: Enforcing Intellectual Property on the Blockchain, by Martin Zeilinger; Fundament...
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The development of social robots for children with autism has been a growth field for the past 15 years. This article reviews studies in robots and autism as a neurodevelopmental disorder that impacts socialcommunication development, and the ways social robots could help children with autism develop social skills. Drawing on ethics research from th...
Chapter
This paper raises questions regarding the societal, cultural and ethical significance of finance, mathematics, and financial-mathematical technologies, discussing in particular the phenomenon of quantification as mediated by contemporary electronic information and communication technologies (ICTS). It first relates the history of mathematics to the...
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As machines take over more tasks previously done by humans, artistic creation is also considered as a candidate to be automated. But, can machines create art? This paper offers a conceptual framework for a philosophical discussion of this question regarding the status of machine art and machine creativity. It breaks the main question down in three...
Book
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This book offers a systematic framework for thinking about the relationship between language and technology and an argument for interweaving thinking about technology with thinking about language. The main claim of philosophy of technology—that technologies are not mere tools and artefacts not mere things, but crucially and significantly shape what...
Article
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This essay shows that a sharp distinction between ethics and aesthetics is unfruitful for thinking about how to live well with technologies, and in particular for understanding and evaluating how we cope with human existential vulnerability, which is crucially mediated by the development and use of technologies such as electronic ICTs. It is argued...
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This reply to Gunkel and Zwart further reflects on, and responds to, the following main points: the Heideggerian character of my view and the potential link to Kafka (Gunkel), the suggestion that we should become hackers (Gunkel), the interpretation of my approach in terms of the Hegelian Master–Slave dialectic (Zwart), the lack of an empirical dim...
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Robot-Assisted Therapy (RAT) has successfully been used to improve social skills in children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) through remote control of the robot in so-called Wizard of Oz (WoZ) paradigms. However, there is a need to increase the autonomy of the robot both to lighten the burden on human therapists (who have to remain in control...
Chapter
Environmental health encompasses the assessment and control of those environmental factors that can potentially affect human health, such as radiation, toxic chemicals and other hazardous agents. It is often assumed that the assessment part is just a matter of scientific research, and the control part a matter of implementing standards which unambi...

Projects

Projects (4)
Project
The aim of the project is to explore commercial brain-computer interfaces from philosophical, neuroscientific and artistic perspectives.
Project
The main aim of the project is to connect contemporary research in what can be called "virtue ethics of technology" (Shannon, 2016) with the theory of narrative technologies. As such, we hope to be able to ground virtue ethics of technology on an understanding of technological mediation that fits with the basic notions of virtue ethics of practices that are embedded in a narrative understanding of social reality that belongs to a certain conception of "the good life".