Human-Technology Relations: Postphenomenology and Philosophy of Technology

By September 4, 2018English

Technologies rapidly come into our life. Without being fully aware of what they do and how they operate, we start using them, at work, at home, in our leisure time. Gradually they change the world around us making our daily practice impossible without their presence. How does that happen? Which role do they play in our life? How do we envision our relations with technology in the future? These and many other questions were raised during the international conference “Human-Technology Relations: Postphenomenology and Philosophy of Technology” held on the 11-13th of July 2018 at the University of Twente in the Netherlands. Philosophers, designers, scientists joined the conference to share their vision on human-technology relations and to discuss their ideas for creative collaborations.

In his welcome speech the conference chair Prof. Dr. Peter-Paul Verbeek emphasised that it is humans who create  technology and thus, decide how the world will change. Then technology changes human behaviour that means both humans and technology are shaped by each other without humans being aware of that (Dorrestijn & Verbeek, 2013; Verbeek, 2008). The keynote speaker Prof. Dr. Vanessa Evers, who talked about human-robot interactions, shared this vision saying that robots can be delegated a very limited number of functions compared to humans and will never fully replace humans. But integration of robots in a human life creates a new reality and requires that we respond to this reality in a new, yet unexplored, way.

The TeSLA project was represented in a paper presentation entitled “Towards  digital informed consent beyond a privacy paradox” addressing legal and usability requirements for informed consent for personal data use in the context of identification and authorship verification for e-assessment purposes. As a main outcome a blueprint for the development of informed consent was presented that supports data subjects and data controllers in an efficient and effective informed consent process. Not surprisingly, the audience was highly interested in students’ perception of personal data sharing for identification purposes, as well as  their decision-making strategies. Apart from these more philosophical interests, they were very interested in the TeSLA technology and its exploitation after the formal project end.


Dorrestijn, S., & Verbeek, P.-P. (2013). Technology, Wellbeing, and Freedom: The Legacy of Utopian Design. International Journal of Design, 7(3), 45–56.

Verbeek, P. P. (2008). Cyborg intentionality: Rethinking the phenomenology of human-technology relations. Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences, 7(3), 387–395.


Ekaterina Mulder, PhD Candidate

José Janssen, Associate Professor

Author Ekaterina Muravyeva

A PhD Candidate at the Open University

More posts by Ekaterina Muravyeva

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