Rise of the technophilosopher

The new technologists equipped to explore and exploit philosophy for business

Our world is developing new technologies that are pushing the boundaries of morality and social norms, and the resurgence of the humanities is imminent. We will see a new wave of applied philosophy managed by a new job title, the technophilosopher.

The training for such a role will involve the study of computer languages and programming, the ability to manipulate large data sets and statistical models, and a rigorous study of classical and modern philosophy.

Altruistic companies will need the technophilosophers skills to build better, more ethical software and devices, and to inform the organization of how to navigate increasingly complex moral grey-zones.

Through statistical modelling they will quickly extrapolate what would happen in specific situations. This can expand the imagination and further the discussion in ambiguous contexts without causing any real harm. Through virtual reality they will allow others to feel the implications of moral dilemmas in ways that are more pronounced than any simple mental visualization. This can enhance understanding and empathy.

Developments that are already happening today but are yet to be named, such as philobranding whereby companies will proclaim specific stances on moral issues in order to attract customers, will be the other domain these technophilosophers will tackle.

Consider Mercedes announcing that their self-driving cars will kill pedestrians over drivers. This will appeal to people whose personal philosophies are that of an individualistic nature. Other companies, like Volvo perhaps, may very well come out and announce that their car will decide to kill whomever is oldest. This will appeal to those who abide by an agist philosophy.

Neither is wrong or right, but this will not prevent brand loyalty disputes from becoming far more heated than what we have in the landscape today. iPhone vs. Android, Pepsi vs. Coke, Arsenal vs. Liverpool, those debates will feel like Sunday morning cartoons.

These philobranding decisions will not be developed by marketing departments. Instead it will be the technophilosophers who do so.

Technophilsophers will emerge and get adopted by the most forward-looking companies quietly and in very small numbers at first. Slowly they will increase in popularity. They will then become all the rage, and at the peak of their popularity, the first technophilsopher CEO will appear.

The outcome of a mind so well-versed in the humanities leading a company will be a completely new paradigm that will be difficult to predict.

Should they be benevolent, we will see the completely reimagining of systems to the benefit of humanity. Should they be cruel, we shall faced by the most adept overtaking of humans by machines.

Get provocative questions and ideas about the future of tech and its place in our thinking and work. Subscribe to the Newsletter 📬.