I do self-funded research.

The keyword of my research is agency.

If you are unclear about what agency is about here is a reminder:

having no agency is no longer having power over the unfolding of your life - while some other agents control the unfolding of your life.

Why am I talking about agency & agents?

Technological devices are agents.

We are also agents.

As agent (ourselves), we can either incorporate a technique, for example speaking a foreign language, or chose to delegate the retention and execution of that technique to an agent, an interpreter or a digital application that translates languages.

Agents we rely on can empower us; do things we could not not without them.

No doubts.

But, what is the implication of relying on technologies instead of doing things ourselves?

We know there is no free lunch.

What is the cost of delegating tasks to technologies?

For example: we’ve adopted digital applications to date, find clients, build our busineeses, find our way through the city, express ourselves, meet people, etc. These apps have helped us to do things in a way we would have not without.

But, have these technologies also prompted us to shape a world in which we can no longer imagine existing without these apps?

Why so?

Is that because usage of technologies has undermined our abilities?

Don’t get me wrong. To question technologies is not to reject them, but to perceive technological agent as a drug, a pharmacological agent: an agent which is a remedy as well as a poison1.

For example, drugs are better at doing something my biological system can’t do, for example producing dopamine, but, intake of drugs can also undermine my system’s ability to do so, for example no longer be able to produce dopamine at all without intake of a drug.

Or the sleeping pill, I first take a sleeping pill because it makes it easier for me to fall asleep, but then over time, I can no longer fall asleep without the sleep pill. I would like to stop using the agent but can no longer do so. The agent controls whether I can fall asleep or not.

In other words, I first use the agent because it is better at doing something, but then, I lose agency over the unfolding of my life, and the agent takes over.

My point is not to reject technologies, but to ask: if we can see technologies can be like drug we might want to ask:

  • what usage risk undermining our abilities?
  • and conversely: how can we think of technological usage to foster agency?

That is the topic of my research, roughly.

I am writing a first book and setting up a publishing house to distribute my research freely2 i.e. under a Creative Common license.

If you want to receive an email when the book is out, send an email to:

I finance this research doing freelance work, making plain text websites and very occasionally working as a skipper.

To contact me, please go to: https://yctct.com/contact.

  1. I get this from philosopher Bernard Stiegler.↩︎

  2. https://yctct.com/free↩︎

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