Instagram! Black-footed ferret

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I heard a discussion on the radio about de-extinction. By saying the term, I’m being complicit in its persistence, further admitting its putative meaning into existence,

The way we talk about (and express) our experiences somehow creates the possibility for the conditions of those experiences (Lister p.210)

A similar concept was articulated by one of the broadcast’s interviewees (Richard Grenyer, Associate Professor in Biodiversity and Biogeography at Oxford University) who argued with conviction that the term de-extinction is actively harmful because it constitutes an understanding of animal species now extinct, or about to become so, as resurrect-able. Such a meaning carries with it the risk that we will not properly care for the biodiversity of our planet because we will soon (in a generation) be able to conjure up woolly mammoths and black-footed ferrets by sleight of our automated hands.

We are doing the same with our technological lexicon – the language of computers, networks, databases and protocols is performing a posthuman self we might easily fail to properly cherish unless, as Shah (2015) urges,

we take the form, function, role, and intention of digital technologies more seriously in our analysis of technosocial regimes and systems of governance. More often than not, the architecture, protocols, algorithms, and the aesthetics and logic of data are not addressed in the growing discourse around study of technology driven social and political organisation.

(Shah, 2015, p.39)

Shah, N. (2015). Identity and Identification: The Individual in the Time of Networked Governance Socio-Legal Review, 11:2, pp.22-40

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