Event Details

  • When: Monday, 18 June 2018

    Times: 8.00pm - 10.00pm

    Event Tickets: General Admission £8 (Concessions £6)

    Where: Ruskin Hall, Emerson College, Forest Row, RH18 5JX

    Event Booking:  Click here to book your place

    For more information email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

TALK: The Hidden Biography of the Computer and the Challenge to the Human Soul

TALK: The Hidden Biography of the Computer and the Challenge to the Human Soul

Jeremy Naydler explores the emergence of the computer within the wider context of the evolution of human consciousness.

The computer was the product of a long historical development, which culminated in the scientific revolution of the seventeenth century. It was during this period that the first mechanical calculators were invented and the project to create more complex “thinking machines” was embarked upon in earnest. But the seeds of this historical development were sown many hundreds of years earlier, deep in antiquity. 

In order to understand the emergence of the computer, we need to place it in the wider context of the evolution of human consciousness over millennia. It then becomes apparent that modern consciousness has evolved in conjunction with the evolution of machines, and under their intensifying shadow. Today the computer, with its highly refined logical “intelligence”, has become more than just an indispensable aid to living in the contemporary world. It has become a kind of icon of modern consciousness, and as such presents a profound challenge to the human soul. It asks us ever more urgently: what does it mean to be human, and what, if anything, distinguishes us from machines? 

About the speaker:

Jeremy Naydler, Ph.D., is a philosopher, cultural historian and gardener who lives and works in Oxford, England. He has long been interested in the history of consciousness and also deeply concerned about the impact of electronic technologies on our inner life and on our relationship to nature. He has contributed numerous articles to magazines such as New View, Self and Society, and Resurgence. His most recent book, In the Shadow of the Machine: the Prehistory of the Computer and the Evolution of Consciousness, is published by Temple Lodge (2018).