The Home in the Digital Age

London 25 -26 February 2019

Technology is dramatically changing our way of living. We must consider how to cope with the new possibilities and new vulnerabilities it introduces into our home lives.

Over the coming years we will continue to witness a technological “revolution.” How will the increasing presence of new technologies in the home affect its pivotal roles in human development and the creation of a balanced and humane society?

First we must ask whether technology’s inroads into the home are inevitable and if so, can the home coexist with this intruder without critical aspects of domestic life becoming compromised, including relationships and work? What might the specific costs to our home lives, and how can they be avoided or minimized?

Furthermore, what benefits of an advanced technological age can we identify that can be better exploited in the home to enhance its functioning? How can we welcome these emerging components of a home to benefit the whole?

In the past, social sciences, neurosciences, economics and philosophy have explored the topics of individual constitution and development dynamics, focusing on people’s cognition, action, subjectivity, inter-subjectivity and their relationship with the environment. But today engineering and bio-engineering also play an increasingly relevant role in such an evaluation.

A new epistemological approach must be developed that might include disciplines including sociology, economics and law, philosophy and anthropology, and engineering and architecture, which might be able to develop and account for new models of care. The home remains a paradigmatic place where such care models and practices emerge and take place, shaping human personhood, and its bodily dimension as well as social possibilities for development and growth. Such an approach should increasingly conceive the human being not as a subject opposed to the environment, but as an actor in the environment.

Over the coming years we will continue to witness a technological “revolution.” How will the increasing presence of new technologies in the home affect its pivotal roles in human development and the creation of a balanced and humane society?

First we must ask whether technology’s inroads into the home are inevitable and if so, can the home coexist with this intruder without critical aspects of domestic life becoming compromised, including relationships and work? What might the specific costs to our home lives, and how can they be avoided or minimized?

Furthermore, what benefits of an advanced technological age can we identify that can be better exploited in the home to enhance its functioning? How can we welcome these emerging components of a home to benefit the whole?

In the past, social sciences, neurosciences, economics and philosophy have explored the topics of individual constitution and development dynamics, focusing on people’s cognition, action, subjectivity, inter-subjectivity and their relationship with the environment. But today engineering and bio-engineering also play an increasingly relevant role in such an evaluation.

A new epistemological approach must be developed that might include disciplines including sociology, economics and law, philosophy and anthropology, and engineering and architecture, which might be able to develop and account for new models of care. The home remains a paradigmatic place where such care models and practices emerge and take place, shaping human personhood, and its bodily dimension as well as social possibilities for development and growth. Such an approach should increasingly conceive the human being not as a subject opposed to the environment, but as an actor in the environment.

Principal Inquiries

  • Is the invasion by new technologies, for better and worse, inevitable? 
  • How are such technologies changing the perceptions and our social relationships? 
  • What new factors are in play and how can they be employed to serve the ends that we consider worth preserving in the case of the home and household? 
  • How might interpersonal and intergenerational relationships in the domestic environment be affected by the new technologies?
  • To what extent do domestic activities (eating, cleaning, cooking, chatting, caregiving) mediated by new technologies maintain their social and cultural relevance?
  • How can we evaluate the benefits of technological advances for those with long-term immobility or other care needs?
  • How do new technologies shape feelings of vulnerability, safety, and belonging, and how does the home reflect them?
  • Can technology provide psychological and physical rehabilitation or slow the progression of disease?
  • How is the balance between areas of personal development changing (work and family, domestic and social environment, workers and stakeholders, etc.)?
  • How important is social interaction and physical contact for both young and old and is this threatened by modern technology?
  • How is technology affecting and shaping people’s spare time? Popular electronic devices can distract from work and hinder conversation within the home.
  • How can robotic devices and machines in the home serve in caring for the children and the elderly?
  • Which images can convey the work of the home in social and industrial communication fields? How can we develop and implement the idea of a “house that changes together with a body that changes”?
  • How can we enrich the concept of household work if we consider it from the perspective of its ontological priority with respect to technological applications?
  • How does technology affect the boundaries of the home? Is it possible to change the geographic or physical aspect of the home and its relationship with people?
  • How are safety and privacy changing in light of new technologies and reorganization of domestic environments?
  • What effects can be observed on intimacy and privacy in the home?
  • Can technology lead to the creation of privacy spaces outside the home?

Academic Leaders

Speakers

Maria Sophia Aguirre - Catholic University of America

Homayoun Alemi - The Bartlett-London's Global University

Luisa Damiano - University of Messina

Stephen Davies - Institute of Economic Affairs

Mohamed Gamal Abdelmonem - Nottingham Trent University 

Mei Lin Fung - The Australian National University (ANU) 

Sonia Livingstone - London School of Economics (LSE)

Mia Mikic - United Nations ESCAP

Joy Malala - University of Leeds

Gloria O. Pasadilla - University of the Philippines

Ioana Ocnarescu - Strate School of Design, Paris

Matilde Santos - University Complutense of Madrid

Francesca Toni - Imperial College London