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Steven Umbrello
Università di Torino
  1.  75
    The Future of War: The Ethical Potential of Leaving War to Lethal Autonomous Weapons.Steven Umbrello, Phil Torres & Angelo F. De Bellis - manuscript
    Lethal Autonomous Weapons (LAWs) are robotic weapons systems, primarily of value to the military, that could engage in offensive or defensive actions without human intervention. This paper assesses and engages the current arguments for and against the use of LAWs through the lens of achieving more ethical warfare. Specific interest is given particularly to ethical LAWs, which are artificially intelligent weapons systems that make decisions within the bounds of their ethics-based code. To ensure that a wide, but not exhaustive, survey (...)
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  2.  92
    Moving to a Posthuman Technosphere. [REVIEW]Steven Umbrello - forthcoming - Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology.
    A new book by Roberto Marchesini, Tecnosfera, is reviewed. Technosfera serves as an in-depth exploration of the concept of techne and its relation to humanist and posthumanist thought for professionals. The book's core methodology is to explore the geneaological, linguistic and philosophical differences between the humanist and posthumanist concepts of techne and show how the latter is less contentious and favourable. The book is informationally dense, well-argued and academically current, providing seasoned scholars with a novel exploratory approach to posthumanist theory.
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  3. The Rise of Realism. [REVIEW]Steven Umbrello - 2017 - International Journal of Actor-Network Theory and Technological Innovation 9 (2):63-66.
    A new book by Manuel DeLanda and Graham Harman, The Rise of Realism, is reviewed. The Rise of Realism is an introductory text that aims to clarify the difficulties that surround the philosophical concepts of realism and materialism (as well as their antitheses). This primer intended to introduce students and interested scholars to the concepts and literature on realism and its place in the continental tradition of philosophy and related social theory. The book’s core methodology is to outline the various (...)
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  4.  65
    A Theory of Everything? [REVIEW]Steven Umbrello - 2018 - Cultural Studies Review 24 (2):184-186.
    Enter Object-Oriented Ontology: A New Theory of Everything.Eschewing the verbose and often obscurantist tendencies of other philosopher-authors, Harman tackles what might otherwise be a complicated, controversial and counter-intuitive philosophical stance with accessible and easy-to-follow prose. OOO has never been so clear nor so convincingly presented as it is here. Covered in seven chapters, the book gives a genealogical account of OOO, chronicling the reason for its emergence, comparing it to both the past and current philosophical traditions and arguing for its (...)
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  5.  84
    Evaluating Future Nanotechnology: The Net Societal Impacts of Atomically Precise Manufacturing.Steven Umbrello & Seth D. Baum - 2018 - Futures 100:63-73.
    Atomically precise manufacturing (APM) is the assembly of materials with atomic precision. APM does not currently exist, and may not be feasible, but if it is feasible, then the societal impacts could be dramatic. This paper assesses the net societal impacts of APM across the full range of important APM sectors: general material wealth, environmental issues, military affairs, surveillance, artificial intelligence, and space travel. Positive effects were found for material wealth, the environment, military affairs (specifically nuclear disarmament), and space travel. (...)
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  6. Humankind: Solidarity with Nonhuman People. [REVIEW]Steven Umbrello - 2018 - Journal of Critical Realism 17 (1):84-86.
    A new book by Timothy Morton, Humankind: Solidarity with Nonhuman People, is reviewed. Humankind: Solidarity with Nonhuman People is a project into the applied political ethics that emerge between speculative realism and Marxism. This book is intended to build on the object-oriented ontology that Morton has espoused in previous volumes, however with a greater emphasis on normative politics. The book’s core methodology is to outline the various neologisms that Morton employs and incorporate those speculative realist terms into a retooling of (...)
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  7.  30
    Posthumanism: A Fickle Philosophy?Steven Umbrello - 2018 - Con Texte 2 (1):28-32.
    Defining posthumanism as a single, well-oriented philosophy is a difficult if not impossible endeavour. Part of the reason for this difficulty is accounted by posthumanism’s illusive origins and its perpetually changing hermeneutics. This short paper gives a brief account of the ecological trend in contemporary posthumanism and provides a short prescription for the future of posthumanist literature and potential research avenues.
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  8.  73
    The Moral Psychology of Value Sensitive Design: The Methodological Issues of Moral Intuitions for Responsible Innovation.Steven Umbrello - 2018 - Journal of Responsible Innovation 5 (2):186-200.
    This paper argues that although moral intuitions are insufficient for making judgments on new technological innovations, they maintain great utility for informing responsible innovation. To do this, this paper employs the Value Sensitive Design (VSD) methodology as an illustrative example of how stakeholder values can be better distilled to inform responsible innovation. Further, it is argued that moral intuitions are necessary for determining stakeholder values required for the design of responsible technologies. This argument is supported by the claim that the (...)
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  9.  93
    A Value-Sensitive Design Approach to Intelligent Agents.Steven Umbrello & Angelo Frank De Bellis - 2018 - In Roman Yampolskiy (ed.), Artificial Intelligence Safety and Security. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press. pp. 395-410.
    This chapter proposed a novel design methodology called Value-Sensitive Design and its potential application to the field of artificial intelligence research and design. It discusses the imperatives in adopting a design philosophy that embeds values into the design of artificial agents at the early stages of AI development. Because of the high risk stakes in the unmitigated design of artificial agents, this chapter proposes that even though VSD may turn out to be a less-than-optimal design methodology, it currently provides a (...)
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  10.  18
    Evolution Science and Ethics in the Third Millennium: Challenges and Choices for Humankind. [REVIEW]Steven Umbrello - 2018 - World Futures 74 (5):1-3.
    Evolution Science and Ethics in the Third Millennium is one of the most lucid academic texts on the subject of evolutionary morality to be published in the last decade. While the book does have some problematic aspects, discussed below, it nonetheless provides what is none other than a comprehensive and rational basis to substantiate the notion that evolutionary science can provide a foundation for the understanding of morality. Cliquet and Avramov take a wholly interdisciplinary approach, encroaching within and forming connections (...)
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  11.  10
    A Review of Leonardo Caffo and Azzurra Muzzonigro’s “Costruire Futuri: Migrazioni, Città, Immaginazioni”. [REVIEW]Steven Umbrello - forthcoming - Journal of Futures Studies 23 (1).
    Modernism has provided a strong case for technoprogressivism, innovation and speculation on future possibilities. However, drastic and often devastating consequences have followed modernism such as global warming and mass biodiversity loss. In Leonardo Caffo and Azzurra Muzzonigro’s new book, a case for posthumanism as a means for envisioning and rethinking futures studies is argued and practical means by which those futures can be realized are outlined.
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  12.  25
    Atomically Precise Manufacturing and Responsible Innovation: A Value Sensitive Design Approach to Explorative Nanophilosophy.Steven Umbrello - forthcoming - International Journal of Technoethics.
    Although continued investments in nanotechnology are made, atomically precise manufacturing (APM) to date is still regarded as speculative technology. APM, also known as molecular manufacturing, is a token example of a converging technology, has great potential to impact and be affected by other emerging technologies, such as artificial intelligence, biotechnology, and ICT. The development of APM thus can have drastic global impacts depending on how it is designed and used. This paper argues that the ethical issues that arise from APM (...)
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  13.  24
    Silence of the Idols: Appropriating the Myths of Daedalus and Sisyphus for Posthumanist Discourses.Steven Umbrello & Jessica Lombard - 2018 - Postmodern Openings 9 (4):98-121.
    Both current and past analyses and critiques of transhumanist and posthumanist theories have had a propensity to cite the Greek myth of Prometheus as a paradigmatic figure. Although stark differences exist amongst the token forms of posthumanist theories and transhumanism, both theoretical domains claim promethean theory as their own. There are numerous definitions of those two concepts: therefore, this article focuses on posthumanism thought. By first analyzing the appropriation of the myth in posthumanism, we show how the myth fails to (...)
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  14.  5
    Designing a Nano-Safe Future.Steven Umbrello - 2018 - Solutions Journal 9 (4):1-3.
    A short position paper on how we can preemptively anticipate and design nanotechnology-safe futures.
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  15.  12
    Designing in Ethics. [REVIEW]Steven Umbrello - forthcoming - Prometheus: Critical Studies in Innovation 36 (1).
    Designing in Ethics provides a compilation of well-curated essays that tackle the ethical issues that surround technological design and argue that ethics must form a constitutive part of the designing process and a foundation in our institutions and practices. The appropriation of a design approach to applied ethics is argued as a means by which ethical issues that implicate technological artifact may be achieved.
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  16.  10
    Explorative Nanophilosophy as Tecnoscienza: An Italian Perspective on the Role of Speculation in Nanoindustry.Steven Umbrello - manuscript
    There are two primary camps in which nanotechnology today can be categorized normal nanotechnology and speculative nanotechnology. The birth of nanotechnology proper was conceived through discourses of speculative nanotechnology. However, current nanotech-nology research has detracted from its speculative promises in favour of more attainable material products. Nonetheless, normal nanotechnology has leveraged the popular support and consequential funding it needs to conduct research and development (R&D) as a result of popular conceptions of speculative nanotechnology and its promises. Similarly, the scholarly literature (...)
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  17.  14
    Presentism and Relativity.Steven Umbrello - 2015 - The Oxford Philosopher.
    In this short paper I will be explicating and evaluating the arguments presented by Keller and Nelson in their paper, Presentists Should Believe in Time-Travel. I will show that their presuppositions, which are essential to their arguments, have the potential to devastate their position. We will see that one of these presuppositions comes into conflict with the General Theory of Relativity, and I will demonstrate that this endangers both their own agenda and presentism as a whole.
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  18.  10
    Star Trek’s Stoics: The Vulcans.Steven Umbrello - 2015 - Philosophy Now 106:29.
    In 1966 Gene Roddenberry, then a relatively unknown TV writer, created what was to become a cultural sensation. From cell phones and tablets, to MRI machines and medical jet injectors, Star Trek has undoubtedly anticipated much of the technology that we take for granted today. Moreover, the disagreements, fights and jokes between Captain Kirk (William Shatner), Dr Leonard ‘Bones’ McCoy (DeForest Kelley) and Mr Spock (Leonard Nimoy) were expertly crafted for dramatic impact. But I’m not writing this to confess to (...)
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  19.  43
    Imaginative Value Sensitive Design: How Moral Imagination Exceeds Moral Law Theories in Informing Responsible Innovation.Steven Umbrello - 2018 - Dissertation, University of Edinburgh
    Safe-by-Design (SBD) frameworks for the development of emerging technologies have become an ever more popular means by which scholars argue that transformative emerging technologies can safely incorporate human values. One such popular SBD methodology is called Value Sensitive Design (VSD). A central tenet of this design methodology is to investigate stakeholder values and design those values into technologies during early stage research and development (R&D). To accomplish this, the VSD framework mandates that designers consult the philosophical and ethical literature to (...)
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  20.  33
    Safe-(for Whom?)-By-Design: Adopting a Posthumanist Ethics for Technology Design.Steven Umbrello - 2018 - Dissertation, York University
    This research project aims to accomplish two primary objectives: (1) propose an argument that a posthuman ethics in the design of technologies is sound and thus warranted and, (2) how can existent SBD approaches begin to envision principled and methodological ways of incorporating nonhuman values into design. In order to do this this MRP will provide a rudimentary outline of what constitutes SBD approaches. A particular design approach - Value Sensitive Design (VSD) - is taken up as an illustrative example (...)
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