Philosopher of digital technology

I have an interdisciplinary background consisting of philosophy, art, and law, and I have a passion for IT. I mainly work in philosophy and ethics of technology, and critical data studies, but I enjoy cooperating with and briding to other disciplines. By building bridges between disciplines and between theory and practice I want to ensure that technology works for us, and not the other way around. I enjoy working with technicians in order to tackle problematic aspects of technology.

My main interest lies in exploring the socio-political implications of digital technologies like Digital Twins and Artificial Intelligence. Here, I like to pay particular attention to the material dimension of technology: its concrete design and implementation.

Being intrigued by the material dimension of technology (I understand 'material' in a broad sense, including electricity and air) and the implications thereof, I try to approach any particular technology that I research from a kind of "manual philosophy". Next to the general practice areas of philosophy that lies in reading (discours analysis, desk research) and talking (interviews, participation), I think it is valuable to add 'touch' (albeit in a more abstract form) as input to our methodological toolkit by trying to actually work with or in the technology we are trying to understand and analyse. Drawing on my background in art, I experienced that when you are trying to tell a story through a particular material, whether it be crayons, wood or metal, this material impresses its own inclinations and limitations on your story. Over the years I have been trying to use this experience as a background for the manner in which I approach the technologies that I research. One pivotal question I keep coming back to is: how does the material dimension of a technology transforms and affects the information that it affords?

Digital Twins and their responsible development

Currently, I work at Wageningen University where I explore the nature and implications of Digital Twins in the agrifood and environment-related context. Digital Twins are an emerging technology that are now applied in different domains, including agriculture and life sciences. As digital technologies, Digital Twins raise social and ethical issues, such as algorithmic biases, epistemological and normative concerns such as inconclusive evidence or unfair outcomes, or issues related to the ownership of the data generated by the Digital Twins.

Furthermore, the fact that Digital Twins in the life sciences represent living organisms and socio-ecological systems requires that this particular context is considered in Digital Twins development in general, and in the way Digital Twins may affect our relation to the environment, to animals, and to our bodies in particular.

In my postdoctoral project I explore the implications of Digital Twins. Building on insights in the field of philosophy of technology, ethics, responsible innovation, critical data studies, and value sensitive design, I am developing a roadmap for the responsible design of digital twins for the life sciences. Please contact me if you like to learn more.

Steering Representations—Towards a Critical Understanding of Digital Twins (2021). Paulan Korenhof, Vincent Blok, Sanneke Kloppenburg