How technologically advanced we humans are

INCLUSION2025

Discussion between Blumtritt, Wehmeyer and the audience

Inclusion means: leaving no one alone

In spite of all the euphoria, the question arises as to whether the result might not be enormous pressure to have to use and implement all of the above. Blumtritt explains that this is exactly the “liberal fallacy” already mentioned: We accept that we give someone a watch and then expect him or her to be on time. But if we give someone a scale, it would be arrogant to believe that he or she will then lose weight. This is something that is happening very strongly today: You expect people to take responsibility for themselves. This autonomy is a goal of our ethical norms. We want people to act autonomously. But we mustn't make the mistake of leaving people who can't do it alone. That too is inclusion.

Moderator Ulrich summarizes that technology is getting closer to the body. The National Secret Service Council of the USA announced some time ago that by 2030, brain machine interfaces would provide people with “superhuman abilities”, especially with regard to visual and muscular strength. Isn't that more of a threat than progress?

Lead discussions about advanced technologies - and shape them together

Wehmeyer confirms that such announcements are worrying and that it is therefore all the more important to get involved in the discussion. Up until now it has been a matter for nerds to discuss technology. The question of the meaningful "what for" must come from another side. He appeals that especially people who work in social professions and / or in human science should be much more involved in this discussion. It is extremely important to talk about culture and the benefits: Is everything good that is technically feasible? A clear NO from Wehmeyer. To make it socially relevant, you have to have a cultural discussion about what it's good for - and you have to ensure the quality.

Blumtritt adds that there are already human-machine or brain-machine interfaces in the form of implants, for example the cochlear implant for deaf and hearing-impaired people. He confirms that it is important to deal with the consequences of technology in advance, as fundamental cultural upheavals are often the result.

Inclusion as a cultural program?

Could inclusion be this kind of “cultural program” with which technological innovations are checked in advance, or is that hardly possible because what is technically feasible is very much based on a scaling logic that is rejected in the inclusion debate?

Question from the audience: It seems to many that it is the good examples (like the people with cochlear implants) that are attractive for the current inclusion debate because they represent examples of a successful human-machine interface. There is therefore a risk that the “very nice disabled people” will be included, but not others. Are we not building a new exclusion with this form of inclusion, because we are using this scaling logic instead of using these technical possibilities to build a logic of diversity that does not work according to the motto “The winner takes it all”?

Blumtritt replies that there is a change in aggregate considerations in many areas: for example, when we change over to no longer talking about THE DISABLED or THE DEAF, but rather looking at the individual. He therefore finds the discussion with the trade unions very interesting, because trade unions function in such a way that people see themselves as “meaningfully summarized”: people say, for example, I'm a trade unionist - I'm a metalworker. If the announced customization increases, it becomes very difficult.

According to Blumtritt, this is a process that is not at all technology-driven, but a purely sociocultural topic that is extremely important for the future. But there is still no answer to this important question. “Obviously we have not yet found a way to morally grasp this view of people as individuals and no longer as a mass. The more people we include, the harder it will be for those who are not involved. A very important task is to ask what happens to these people who are not included. This is also a discussion that is only just beginning. "

On the question of scaling, Wehmeyer adds that it is done very differently today. He explains this using the telephone: In the past, everything had to be produced continuously, from the connection from the wall to what took place at the telecommunications provider in the exchange. Today there is the big difference that a computer no longer has to be under the table, but in the huge data center. Then come the basic platforms and then the application. And making such an application is much cheaper than putting a telephone line in every house. And: It has never been easier than it is today to provide inclusion instruments using the resources of modern software. He takes the example of telemedicine: home care for epilepsy patients is a very likely development. In the future, it will be possible for them to live at home and not remain isolated in special clinics. Ten years ago that was an absolutely utopian undertaking and hardly economically feasible. Wehmeyer already sees today that there will be modern methods of combining sensors and software. This in turn will make it possible for people with epilepsy, for example, to live well protected and at an affordable price in their home environment.

The question arises of cost-benefit considerations, economization, etc. It is always suggested that one must be able to do everything and participate in what is currently possible. From the audience comes the comment that it would be more important to live in a society that provides inclusive answers to precisely such questions. A society in which people who are deaf, for example, do not have to feel that they should ultimately use everything that is technically possible. Isn't it dangerous and a hindrance to inclusion if we live in a society in which everyone always wants to be better and more beautiful? Don't we have an obligation to say that we need to put a stop to this?

Wehmeyer on this: We must of course have the sovereignty over it. But you don't get that by withdrawing into your own snail shell and saying, let the technicians do it. For technicians, this means that only the technical feasibility is in the foreground. However, we need the authority to interpret and shape things from completely different political circles who discuss these questions, which we cannot solve with pure market-economy logic.

One questioner finds the cultural dimension particularly important and in need of improvement in the discussion about topics or the limits of technological change. An open-minded attitude towards individual solutions is necessary. In research it is often argued that there is not a large enough mass that these solutions can use. The questioner remarks that the “group of disabled people” is not a homogeneous group. A much more open attitude and the pragmatic implementation of individual solutions would be necessary.

Blumtritt considers this to be a very important aspect, especially when it comes to the question of whether we need technology bans. In the dispute that Enno Park - which describes itself as a cyborg because of its cochlear implant - with representatives of the sign language culture, the question again and again is: Can people decide to go a certain way? calls into question the previously recognized path? The same applies to parents who decide for their children. We lack ethics for this, from Blumtritt's point of view. We are currently very busy judging people who are unwilling to conform to the norm. According to Blumtritt, this affects the area of ​​inclusion very much, in his opinion.