Against the Power of Computers and the Destruction of Reason. For the Development of Human Creativity and Judgement. Remembering the Critical Intellectual Joseph Weizenbaum on the Occasion of his 100th Birthday

  • Klaus Fuchs-Kittowski Berlin
Keywords: Joseph Weizenbaum’s 100th birthday, informatics and society, AI and society, Artificial Intelligence, ChatGPT


This article is a reflection on the relevance of Joseph Weizenbaum’s ethics today on the occasion of his 100th birthday. Today, there are many debates about the impact of AI technologies such as ChatGPT on society. Weizenbaum understood himself not as a computer and AI critic, but as a critic of society. He situated the problems of computing in the context of society. The paper shows that in the spirit of Weizenbaum we should also in the contemporary age of advanced AI remind ourselves that computers cannot understand, do not have feelings, and therefore cannot do many things that humans actively and consciously do.

Acknowledgement: This article was translated from German to English by Christian Fuchs. A German version of this article will be published in FIfF-Kommunikation (see


Author Biography

Klaus Fuchs-Kittowski, Berlin

Prof. Dr. Phil. Habil. Klaus Fuchs-Kittowski is a German computer scientist and philosopher of science. He was a Professor of Information Processing at Humboldt University in Berlin. He was born on December 31st, 1934, in Berlin. He is the grandson of Emil Fuchs, a religious socialist who contributed to the philosophy of Humanist Socialism and was active in the resistance against German fascism. Klaus Fuchs-Kittowski studied philosophy in Leipzig and undertook postgraduate training in biochemistry, biology, the mathematical foundations of cybernetics and philosophy of science at Humboldt University. He earned a PhD in philosophy on the problem of determinism and cybernetics in molecular biology. In 1964 he was among the founders of the University’s Computer Center and, in 1968, of its Department of Economical Cybernetics and Operation Research, which later became the Department for Theory and Organiza­tion of Science. He was vice Director of the Department and Head of the Division of Information System Design and Automated Information Processing. In 1972, he was awarded the Rudolf Virchow Prize for medical research. He collaborated with the IIASA-groups on Modelling of Healthcare Systems and on Data-Communication. He became a member of IFIP/TC9 (International Federation for Informa­tion Processing, Technical Committee 9 – Interaction of Computer and Society). For six years he was Chairman of the “Computer and Work” Working Group 1 of IFIP’s TC9. Fuchs-Kittowski held Visiting Professorship at University of Hamburg’s Department of Informatics and Johannes Kepler University Linz’s Institute of Business Informatics. He also taught at the University of Applied Sciences (HTW) Berlin in the field of Environmental Informatics and Society. In 1992, the International Federation for Information Processing (IFIP) awarded its Silver Core to Klaus Fuchs-Kittowski for his work in Technical Committee 9 that deals with the interaction of computers and society and TC’s working group on Computers and Work (TC9, WG9.1). In 2022, he was awarded the Wiener-Schmidt-Price by the German Society for Cybernetics (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Kybernetik).