In Workshop on Exploring the Intersection of Philosophy and HCI, pages 5, Glasgow, UK, May, 2019. Paper abstract bibtex
In this position paper, I would like to discuss the work of Günther Anders, a German-Austrian philosopher whose work revolves around the relationships of humans and their tools and technologies. Anders coined the term Promethean Shame to describe a phenomenon he identified in the narratives that humans construct about their technological lifeworlds. More specifically, he observed how humans increasingly measure themselves against the capacities of their machines and consequently feel increasingly insufficient and ashamed for the imperfections that come with being born, rather than being made. While Anders conducted his work at a time where television and the atomic bomb were live-changing inventions, his work is being (re-)discovered, also outside the German speaking world, as it eerily resonates with descriptions of the close entanglements humans have developed with their digital tools today. In this paper I will sketch the notion of the Promethean Shame, discuss possible interpretations for HCI and point to possible implications for the science and the practice of HCI.