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Special Issue Call for Papers

Educational Philosophy and Theory

Expression of Interest (300 words) by 31 May 2019
Full Submission by 31 August 2019
Publication 2020
Five Stages of Disruption
Wheel of Disruption

Critical Philosophy of Technology: Disruption, Convergence, Addiction

The notion of technological disruption was coined by Clayton M. Christensen in an article written with Joseph Bower in 1995. Christensen is Kim B. Clark Professor of Business Administration, Harvard Business School and his seminal article was aimed at management executives rather than the research community and the concept was later changed to ‘disruptive innovation’ to describe the business-model that enables the technology that is truly disruptive. The concept went viral and has been called the most influential business idea of the 21st century. Christensen refined the concept and theory in a variety of books and papers over the next decade and scholars and practitioners have systematically applied the concept to many fields including higher education.1 Technologies such as ‘AI-first’, personalisation and customisation, personal data value platforms, sustainability, Industry 4.0, Blockchain, CRISPR, commercial drones, the voice economy, and quantum computing have been described as Disruptive Technology Trends For 2018-2019.2 A favourite example of ‘revolutionary’ or ‘discontinuous’ innovation is the way that Wikipedia displaced Encyclopedia Britannica after 244 years.3 There have been many reviews and criticisms and yet the concept has passed into common use.4 As many commentators have pointed out including Christensen himself, the idea has a lineage that goes back to Schumpeter’s ‘creative destruction’ who adapted it from Marx. Disruption can have disastrous psycho-social consequences.

In another setting, the US National Science Foundation selected ‘convergent technology’ as one of ten ‘big ideas’ to describe the ‘Nano-bio-info-cogno’ paradigm that has developed over the last decade, starting in the early 2000s. These are ‘convergent technologies’ purported to drive the next stage of the knowledge society that has clear implications for education in the intermediate term with some disturbing convergences that harness info, bio and nano-technologies in relation to cognitive science driven model of education.5 The claim advanced by NSF is that there is a new scientific ‘unity at the nanoscale’ (Bainbridge and Roco, 2006). There were three important sources that guided subsequent discourse: first, the foundational report sponsored by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the Department of Commerce (DOC), entitled Converging Technologies for Improving Human Performance (2002); second, the 2004 report of the Science and Technology Foresight Unit of the European Union (EU), entitled Converging Technologies – Shaping the Future of European Societies (Nordmann, 2004); third, a report entitled The Big Down: From Genomes to Atoms (ETC Group, 2003). Roco and Bainbridge (2002: 1) comment: ‘We stand at the threshold of a new renaissance in science and technology, based on a comprehensive understanding of the structure and behavior of matter from the nanoscale up to the most complex system yet discovered, the human brain. Unification of science based on unity in nature and its holistic investigation will lead to technological convergence and a more efficient societal structure for reaching human goals. In the early decades of the twenty-first century, concentrated effort can bring together nanotechnology, biotechnology, information technology, and new technologies based in cognitive science.’

We might say the nano-self has arrived and employ a Foucaultian riff on ‘bio-politics’ to argue that research biological knowledge and information science now treats the population as a living mass to be made cognitively efficient in the chain of the nano-bio-info-cogno paradigm, disrupting our bodily identities and diminishing our control over our subjectivities in the name of optimising national cognitive advantage. We now live in a global economy where nanotechnology, biotechnology, information technology and cognitive sciences are converging into new strategies of ‘bio-informational capitalism’ (Peters, 2012). In this newly emergent techno-ecosystem that includes the development of 5G mobile cellular networks, the development of the child and adolescent brain based on cognitive efficiency constitutes a societal anxiety. While computer-based applications clearly help with the development of some cognitive skills they also demonstrate negative impacts on verbal and social skills and curtailment of ‘deep thinking’, sometimes promoting anti-social behaviour and forms of technological addiction.  The American Psychiatric Association (2013) defines ‘Internet Gaming Disorder’ as ‘persistent and recurring use of the Internet to engage in games, often with other players, leading to clinically significant impairment or distress’. Does the ‘post-information’ ‘postdigital’ technology wave represent a new moral vision based on increased human-machine connectivity or does it require the surrender of our autonomous subjectivities, the re-wiring of neurological pathways, and the numbing of the biological body?


1 See https://dltj.org/christensen-bibliography/ and https://www.zotero.org/groups/176/christensen_in_higher_education/items?

2 https://disruptionhub.com/2018-disruptive-trends/ and https://disruptionhub.com/disruption-trends-9-for-2019/

3 Bosman, Julie (2012). "After 244 Years, Encyclopaedia Britannica Stops the Presses"The New York Times.; Tartakoff, Joseph (2009). "Victim Of Wikipedia: Microsoft To Shut Down Encarta"

4 See  "Disruptive technologies: Advances that will transform life, business, and the global economy". McKinsey & Company; “The Myth of Disruptive Technology”, https://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,1628049,00.asp; Ab Rahman, Airini; et al. (2017). "Emerging Technologies with Disruptive Effects: A Review"PERINTIS eJournal7 (2).

5 See The Technology Convergence Conference (TCC) and The International Conference for Convergence in Technology (IEEE).

 

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Submission guidelines

We welcome different submissions for this Special Issue:

Short commentaries 600 words
Research notes 1,000 words
Full papers 6,000 words

Please send all queries and expressions of interest (including a 300-word abstract) to Editor-in-Chief Michael A. Peters mpeters@bnu.edu.cn and copy epat.journal@gmail.com by 31st May, 2019.

For information on the aims and scope, and the submission process for EPAT see here
For information on Philosophy of Education Society of Australasia see here

Educational Philosophy and Theory

Educational Philosophy and Theory publishes articles concerned with all aspects of educational philosophy. It will also consider manuscripts from other areas of pure or applied educational research. In this latter category the journal has published manuscripts concerned with curriculum theory, educational administration, the politics of education, educational history, educational policy, and higher education. As part of the journal's commitment to extending the dialogues of educational philosophy to the profession and education's several disciplines, it encourages the submission of manuscripts from collateral areas of study in education, the arts, and sciences, as well as from professional educators. Nevertheless, manuscripts must be germane to the ongoing conversations and dialogues of educational philosophy.

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