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The greatest epistemological externalisation: reflecting on the puzzling direction we are heading to through algorithmic automatisation

  • Simona ChiodoEmail author
Open Forum


The aim of the article is reflecting on a fundamental epistemological issue which characterises our present technological progress: where are we heading to, as humankind, while we are progressively externalising our most crucial decision processes towards algorithms, from which decisive data, coming from human experience and mind (including the very experience of human abilities), are left out? By reflecting on some cases, I shall try to argue that the most puzzling issue which engineers and philosophers should be aware that they have to jointly challenge may be that what we are actually doing through algorithmic automatisation is developing a novel human condition, according to which: (1) we are progressively thinking that algorithmic abstraction is always better than mental abstraction, because, at least in the Western culture, we come from a history of a progressive restriction of the best use of our minds to the realm of rationality, first, then to the realm of computation, second, and then to the realm of algorithmic automatisation, third, which finally exceeds our minds and (2) in doing so, we are progressively externalising not only human contents, but also human abilities, i.e., we are progressively atrophying ourselves, by becoming creatures who are progressively delegating the core of their very essence, which has always included the epistemological ability, together with the ethical courage, of making complex decisions on both our lives and the others’ lives.


Epistemological externalisation Algorithm Future of humankind 



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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag London Ltd., part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.DAStUPolitecnico di MilanoMilanItaly

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