Andreas Georg Scherer (University of Zurich – IBW Department of Business Administration) and Christina Neesham (Newcastle University Business School) have posted “New Challenges to Enlightenment: Why Socio-Technological Conditions Lead to Organized Immaturity and What to Do About It” on SSRN. Here is the abstract:
Organized immaturity can be defined as the erosion of the individual’s capacity for public use of reason, due to surveillance and control mechanisms of socio-technological systems, ideologies, or autocratic leaders and regimes. Such pushbacks on the Enlightenment have been a concern for philosophers and social theorists. Today, technological advancements of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (such as social media, Internet of Things, smart cities) are inducing new and even more sophisticated forms of organized immaturity. Left to their own devices, systems initially designed to meet human needs tend to slide from service to paternalism, with undesirable reductionist, totalizing and infantilizing effects. To counteract the effects of organized immaturity on individuals and society, we suggest two social mechanisms. Firstly, disorganizing (or anti-organizing) organized immaturity seeks to protect or increase negative freedom (‘freedom from’) of individuals. Secondly, organizing individual and collective maturity emphasizes the strengthening of positive freedom (‘freedom to’) of individuals as well as social groups and collectives.