I read with interest the autobiographic story of Philip Agre and his long struggle to implement the concept of self-criticism within the well-established community of AI Artificial Intelligence engineers, which led him to fight a lot. What I myself had difficulties with was the whole idea of influencing a discipline’s dogmas and even essence from a different perspective, either it being better or worse. Does critical thinking really have this power or even the moral right to slip in engineering works?
Can criticism as a discipline self-sustain? After the lecture from Julian and Danja I was a bit confused. It was the first time I ever came across their work and I found it seriously mind blowing. Criticizing existing flaws in our daily consumed technologies with such borderline projects is definitively a good way to raise awareness and, as they say themselves, “educate” the general public. What I miss in their story, is what happens next. What happens when people have figured out that the news they read at Starbucks can easily be hacked? Should not their incredible work lead to some progress in artifacts as well, not only in knowledge building?
I therefore question myself whether critical thinking, as a discipline and way of reason, is something which can exist by itself, stuck as a surface on top of another discipline (case of Agre) or be an independent discipline finalized at education (case of the critical engineers). If critical thinking is a sticker, can I attach it on top of any discipline I want?