Rethinking human-technology relations

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Human-technology relations (HTR) are of crucial interest in the humanities and social sciences. In sociology, philosophy, cultural studies, media studies, and psychology, the implications, effects, and dynamics of human-technology relations are controversially debated and analysed.  

This Article Collection aims to address these debates and provide a systematic overview of different disciplinary approaches to the topic of human-technology relations by shifting the focus from human-machine interactions to human-machine relations. Thus, we ask how relations, interactions and relationships between humans and technical systems can be distinguished at the conceptual level and how these distinctions are reflected in practice. On the other hand, different modes of human-technology relations and their preconditions are addressed and analysed: How does, e.g., anthropomorphization influence our relationship to technical systems and "intelligent" environments? How do we need to understand and analyse processes of embodiment in human-technology relations? And how does the question of control and agency change in new HTR?

These questions will be discussed from the perspectives of philosophy, sociology, cultural studies, psychology, and law, thus providing a systematic and interdisciplinary overview of the sociopolitically pressing topic of human-technology relations.

The Article Collection is based on a workshop held at the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, from March 29 - 31, 2023 (organised by the Emmy Noether Research Group “The Phenomenon of Interaction in Human-Machine Interaction (HMI)” (, in cooperation with the Institute of Ethics, History and Theory of Medicine (LMU Munich)).


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