News  |    |  November 22, 2019

Why tech companies need philosophers—and how I convinced Google to hire them

News article by Tobias Rees.
Published in Quartz.


I have spent the better half of the last two years trying to convince companies like Google, Facebook, Microsoft, DeepMind, and OpenAI that they need to hire philosophers.

My colleagues and I—a small collective of academics that make up a program called Transformations of the Human at the Los Angeles-based think tank called the Berggruen Institute—think that the research carried out by these companies has been disrupting the very concept of the human that we—in the West particularly—have taken for granted for almost half a millennium.

It’s not only that, though. These companies have helped create realities that we can no longer navigate with the old understanding of what it means to be human.

We need new ones—for ourselves, so that we are able to navigate and regulate the new worlds we live in, but also for the engineers who create tech products, tools, and platforms, so that they can live up to the philosophical stakes of their work. [ . . . ]