Humanity: Revisiting Kant In Modern Times


Science, reason and democracy. The Age of Enlightenment began three hundred years ago. It brought greater freedom and progress and paved the way for modern thought. Today, in the 21st century, does the Enlightenment still matter?

The documentary looks deeply at historic Enlightenment thinkers Denis Diderot, Olympe de Gouges, Thomas Jefferson and Immanuel Kant. Then, it puts their ideas to the test in the modern world. What role do justice, responsibility, freedom and knowledge play, today? Questions that arise include: How can global warming be stopped? How can more and more people live together peacefully? Can we remain responsible citizens, even in the digital age? How can the new technologies be controlled? 

The Austrian philosopher Armen Avanessian sets out on a journey around the world to try to answer some of these questions. From Zurich to New York, Silicon Valley and West Africa, he explores the question of who bears responsibility for our future: states, large corporations or each individual? Omnipresent on the journey is Enlightenment philosopher Immanuel Kant, with his ideas about reason and responsibility. What does Kant still have to say to us today?

The journey begins in Zurich, at the reinsurer Swiss Re, which insures other insurance companies against major losses when things get particularly risky - say, when natural disasters occur. Swiss Re wants to be a pioneer in the fight against the climate crisis and is investing several million dollars in a technology that makes it possible to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. In Silicon Valley, the cradle of the digital revolution, Armen meets ex-Google executive Sridhar Ramaswamy, who spent 15 years helping to make one of the world's most profitable big-tech companies even richer. Then he quit. How does he view corporate power today? Are big tech companies capable of acting morally at all? In New York, Armen encounters the next tech revolution: CRISPR/Cas9. These ‘genetic scissors‘ could defeat diseases like cancer - but also create highly-bred designer humans. At Columbia University in New York, Armen talks with scientist Dieter Egli about the opportunities and limitations of this new technology.


Post a Comment

Grace A Comment!