AHP readers may be interested in the 4th Colloque Psy-ences/Psy-ences Conference. The topic for 2020 is “Tooling the Mind,” with talks talking place in either French or English. The conference will be held online, Friday 25th, September 2020, from 9.00 to 17.00 (Montreal time). Online registration is required and can be completed here. Full details below.
In a world where human beings constantly create and use technological tools, one can question the roles and impact these tools have for and on the mind and mental functions.
The use of tools and techniques related to human cognition is hardly new: the history of scientific experiments on the human mind reveals a fascination to understand it through interventions and external techniques. This history concerns many disciplines such as medicine, psychiatry, social sciences and linguistics, which have developed surprising techniques in order to solve important enigmas about the human mind. Experimentation has conquered all disciplines of the mind, notably neuroscience and psychology—even philosophy, with its new subfield of “experimental philosophy.” New technologies have not only become necessary in people’s daily lives; they are also used in therapies and treatments of several pathologies and conditions.
At a time when technology has become ubiquitous and when its progress continues to exceed expectations and forecasts, the question of its interactions with the mind is constantly raised and renewed. Biology, genetics, and computer science—among others—have brought about new knowledge about mechanisms of the human psyche. These disciplines are not only capable of describing some functions of the human mind; they have also now become transformative: indeed, they can “modify” the mind, and to a certain extent, they can create or generate new abilities.
The questions emerging from the development of such technologies—most notably regarding brain functions, the impact of motor skills on cognition and behavior, learning functions, “atypical” behaviors of certain functions, etc.— prompt us to consider technologies in themselves. If genetics can detect anomalies, for example, what will be the future of tomorrow’s newborns? At a time when machines prove to be powerful tools for overcoming various learning difficulties, what impact do they have on the brains and on human computational abilities? How do these disciplines and their new developments fit into the research about the human mind? These integrative approaches also raise numerous ethical issues, which surface in the complex field of artificial intelligence (AI).
Mind-technology relations fascinate researchers in the scientific, philosophical, computer, and even artistic worlds: what is at stake here is the future of the mind.
These are the issues and questions Psy-ences would like to share this year with its interdisciplinary audience. By exploring the topic of the “Tooling of the Mind”, Psy-ences will bring together scholars from different disciplines and varied horizons so as to be able to answer the numerous questions raised by the interactions between mind and technology.
The program is available here.
· Sabine Arnaud (EHESS)
· Erika Dyck (University of Saskatchewan History)
· Jeremy Greene (Johns Hopkins University, History of Medicine)
· Julie Jebeile (Université de Berne, Oeschger Center for Climate Change Research)
· Dominic Martin (UQAM, Organisation et ressources humaines)
· Mara Mills (NYU, Media Culture and Communication)
· Franck Varenne (Université de Rouen, Département de philosophie)
· Sarah Arnaud (UQAM)
· Alexandra Bacopoulos-Viau (NYU)
· Vincent Guillin (UQAM)