|Publisher:||Japanese Association for the Contemporary and Applied Philosophy (JACAP)|
|Journal title:||Contemporary and Applied Philosophy|
|Abstract:||In this paper, I address social and ethical issues concerning telepresence technologies. New communication media such as smartphones, video-conferencing systems, and tele-operated communication robots bring forth novel modes of communication and alter the way human relationships are established and maintained. It is sometimes said that these technologies realize "social telepresence, " or being together with distant others. However, some theorists, such as Dreyfus and Turkle, argue that these media degrade the quality of our communication practices and impoverish our human relationships and social lives. These theorists stress instead the importance of non-mediated, face-to-face conversation. An aim of the present paper is to examine these critics' arguments against telepresence technologies and to show that they fail: their arguments, I will argue, are based on simplistic and false assumptions on the effect of communication media and are not supported by empirical evidence currently available. Thus, there turns out to be little basis for the claim that telepresence technologies have harmful effects on human relationships, though it is true that these technologies are sometimes used in inappropriate and ethically problematic ways. Another aim of this paper is to offer an explanation why such usage is problematic. Citing an actual case of inappropriate use of telepresence technologies, I will argue that what make it problematic is not certain intrinsic features of these technologies themselves, but "metamessages" the act of choosing them as communication media bears in certain situations. Thus, I will stress, we should pay critical attention to cultural contexts in which communication media are used and which partly determine how they are used.|
|Appears in Collections:||vol. 11|
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