How then to settle meanings to “human” or “humanism” that would be robust enough to support ethical effort properly? It is quite clear that the exploration of the notion of humanism requires mobilizing academic experts from multiple disciplinary horizons (AI, NS, anthropology, philosophy, ethics, political science, economics, law …). Nevertheless, such an interdisciplinary interweavement (among scholars and researchers), which already constitutes a challenge in itself, may not suffice. In fact, although academic insights are indispensable to correctly thinking humanism at the time of NS and AI, one can exclude neither the relevance of common sense and the ordinary life point of view, nor the role of societal actors.
- Wondering about what it means to be human at the time of NS and AI is also a political question. In addition to all technical and philosophical issues involved, it is also a question about the manner we want to live our lives. A pure technocratic and academic approach cannot answer such a deep political question alone. There must be collective societal reflection.
- With such real-world issues, top-bottom regulations and technocratic approaches (even assuming that they could provide the right solution alone) are often confronted with a lack of trust and societal support. The French “Gilets Jaunes” movement counts as a striking illustration of these questions about social legitimacy of knowledge production and policymaking.
In sum, tackling ethical challenges raised by NS and AI demands that all concerned stakeholders and societal actors possess strong ethical capacities based on a clear understanding of what it means to be human. Equipped with strong ethical awareness and expectations, societal actors are in position of contributing to changes in policymaking and ethical regulation, of supporting regulatory political efforts as well as ethical entrepreneurship (notably through consumer choices).