For Work / Against Work
Debates on the centrality of work

"Skilled Perception, Authenticity, and the Case Against Automation"

by Zoller, D (2017)


It is common to argue that doing things ourselves, by skill and without automation, is more “authentic.” Yet it is infrequently explained what this means, or why it is desirable. Here I explain the value of skill in terms of the effect that widespread automation of skills—from driving to cooking—would have on our perceptual lives. The phenomenological tradition has long held that to have a skill is not just to have a productive capability; more than that, skill enables me to perceive elements and aspects of the world that are not accessible to the unskilled. Automating my skills thus amounts to losing the ability to see and know certain “niches” of reality. By showing that skill, and the determinacy of perception that it brings us, is linked to some clearly recognizable human goods, I show that the potential loss of perceptual skill through automation is worthy of moral consideration.


Automation, Skill, Skilled Perception, Heidegger, Robot, Ethics, Phenomenology, Perception


Skills, Automation

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