HaPoC 2021

While computing appears as a technological and scientific field in constant progression, our conception and knowledge of computers are also subject to change over time. In particular, digital machines of the 20th century were inspired by the biological individual, replacing with a solipsistic mental view the cultural and social aspects attached to the image of machines in the 19th century. However, the growing cultural import of computing practices has become ever more pressing in our days in all dimensions of social life. Not only have cultural phenomena increasingly become the object of computational analysis, but computational practices have also proved inseparable from the cultural environment in which they evolve.
Therefore, it is urgent to critically address the entanglement of computing practices with the main cultural challenges our epoch is facing. The global and collective nature of such problems (e.g. climate change, global pandemics, systemic inequalities, resurgence of totalitarianism, to name a few) requires a comprehensive perspective on computing, where social and cultural aspects occupy a central position. For these reasons, thinking about machines asks today for an interdisciplinary approach, where art is as necessary as engineering, anthropological insights as important as psychological models, and the critical perspectives of history and philosophy as decisive as the axioms and theorems of theoretical computer science.
For more than a decade, the “History and Philosophy of Computing” Conference (HaPoC) has contributed to building such an interdisciplinary community and environment. We aim to bring together historians, philosophers, computer scientists, social scientists, designers, manufacturers, practitioners, artists, logicians, mathematicians, each with their own experience and expertise, to take part in the collective construction of a comprehensive image of computing.


Turing Centre Zurich
ETH Zurich

In collaboration with


Collegium Helveticum

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