An excerpt of the speech held by Massimo Conte, Institute Study and Social Research, I.S.E.R.S., Naples (Italy), at the First WCSA's Conference, Bologna 2010.
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HUMAN MACHINES OF SURVIVAL
The technical system with its plea on the future and a closer and closer functional interdependence individual-global environment, play a leading role in the meta-communicative story of modernity. The artificial and the virtual side of socio-technical or abstract living systems, of systemic decisions, of glocal solutions, supervise the present regime of techniques in our modernity. The challenge carried out in the cognitive and rational playground sets probabilistic risk taking (N. Luhmann, 1996) against the uncertainties of/on the future with uncertainty (M. Conte 2009). The new social prairie of the information age (M. Castells, 2002, 2003a, 2003b) multiplies the need for/placing of Trust that “defeats time or at least time differences” (N. Luhmann, 2002), after that space and time, since Einstein, have increased the ubiquity of the former and simultaneity of the latter. The interdependence and the functional differentiation of human beings and of socio-technical systems characterizes present modernity for a contrastive acting between the complexity of regulation (interdependence of parts), of control (organizing aims), of feedback (stimuli-responses) in social systems and its feedback results on living beings. Such background of complex social systems, with world opening of the way meaning is produced in communication and of expansion of expressive self (A. Giddens 1992, Goffman 1969, 1988, 1998, 2001, 2002, 2003), offers quite a new emphasis as to the conditions of simple systems for dimension, diffusion, control over feedback methods that living systems (environment) exchange with abstract models (system).
The horizon of multiplying states of retroactivity in the environment-system communication calls for individuals to negotiate and manage the spreading of life technologies (biotechnologies) through new cognitive and symbolic instruments with moral “prosthesis” of end-of-life-almost death, and the communication technologies (reliability of sender-receiver, reputation of sources, “appeal” of the communication actors, types of belief, negotiation of uncertainties). In such a complex background it seems a key point to examine forms, ways, types of regulation between human beings and virtual abstract platforms, summed up as follows: My aim is to deal with four points: 1) the taking up by the individual-environment of the contents underlying systemic innovations along the line of the making, fixing and ways of immunization of/from risk in the global age. Keywords: Immunization-Risk; 2)the double contradictory movement of current cycle of modernity lying in the relation-conflict between diffusion of rule in the various sub-systems and the call for individual independence and freedom, with the progressive expansion of the state of exception or “bare life” in between. K.: Rule-Independence-Anomie; 3)the increase of knowledge of the world gives rise to an overburden of self knowledge and a decrease of knowledge of the others, together with the key matter according to which the present broadens out in daily life due to (or thanks to) too much future in our decisions about the present. K.: Knowledge-Ignorance of the self-others; 4)the increased access to sources strikes the topic of information asymmetries, determining an equally high degree of cognitive superficiality with an insertion of Trust and confidence in external symbolic powers: money, information, science, common sense, herd instinct, gossip. K.: Information Asymmetries- Moral Risk-Confidence-Relying on-Trust.