Humans Becoming Machines

Humans Becoming Machines

This weeks reading, by Don Idhe, explores the history of technology to draw out his main concepts of what technology is. In opening this chapter, Idhe states “one may not simple stipulate some definition of technology without also setting possible arguments and directions which could either skew or foreclose various avenues of inquiry.” (1) This shows that Idhe is showing his own bias in presenting his views – he does continue on to even say that a definition can not be neutral. However, Idhe’s ideas about technology are interesting and provide a discussion of his ideas as time, space and language being considered technologies. These ideas are intriguing and challenging my perceptions of what technology can be.

Machines as Part of Us

One example that particularly stood out in this weeks lecture was Stelarc and the ear implanted in his arm – something he one day wants to be fully functional, able to enhance his own senses.

Medical technologies were mentioned in the lecture – one example of a medical technology that is used to an extreme to play off peoples senses is BrainGate, a technology developed to help people who have lost the use of their limbs. It allows people to do simple tasks through a chip implanted in their brain, creating a brain-computer interface. One chip has reached a milestone in being used by a patient for over a thousand days. (2) This sort of neuroscience medical application can appear to be the future of how humans interact with computers and can arguably show how we are eithers masters or slaves to technology.

Speculative Design

Some speculative design was mentioned in the lecture, including Dunne and Raby’s ‘What If’ art installation, which was both poignant and amusing. In both class and the lecture we looked at Danielle Wilde’s and Kristina Andersen’s OWL project. Using these speculative objects on parts of our bodies we came up with concepts of how they could be applied using our own senses, feelings and needs.

References:

1. Idhe, Don, Philosophy of Technology: An Introduction, p 47, New York: Paragon Hoise 1993

2. Brown University, BrainGate neural interface reaches 1,000 day milestone, David Orenstein, March 24, 2011, http://news.brown.edu/pressreleases/2011/03/braingate, accessed 6/03/11

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