I have recently finished reading Sterne’s ‘The hystiograpgy of cyberculture’ and was intrigued by some of the thought-provoking suggestions that he offered. When I think of a cyborg I picture a half human/half machine hybrid that has all the personal qualities of a person blended with the enhanced offerings of robotics.
What initially I didn’t think of was the way in which technology can enhance our senses. I appreciate that the focus of Sterne’s piece was of the making of history and the timeline of technological integration, and he clearly states that he is merely using sound as an example to re-enforce his point – however I think his analogy is worthy of reflection.
I recently attended a conference on assistive technologies and one of the keynote speakers, Gareth Ford Williams – Head of Accessibility for the BBC – described the public broadcaster’s efforts to enhance their radio transmissions towards a modernised and futuristic sounding “3D Radio”. In short, they are adopting technology to manipulate our brain’s interpretation of sound to create a better than life experience and to immerse people in transmission rather than passively listening.
3D Radio Video (Kelly 2016):
The same can be said for virtual reality. Our sense of sight is being manipulated to take us to places that we couldn’t otherwise go. 3D technologies allow us to explore internal organs in their functioning form and explore geographical location outwits our reach. I would suggest that mechanical enhances the physical, virtual enhances the spiritual.
But to what extent to the physical and spiritual need to be enhanced for us to concede that whether we like it or not, technological advances are becoming an integral part of our every day lives and society? Perhaps we have reached the glass ceiling of humanity where we have reached our potential but see and crave the need for more.
I have also been considering the histiography of cyberculture that Sterne proceeds to investigate. He mentions transition from analogue to digital – To that I’d add digital immigrants to digital natives, human to cyborg, offline to online and physical to virtual.
Kelly, S. (2016). The head giving you 3D VR sound. Retrieved: 26 January 2017. http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p03smbxv
I was at a party lastnight and a damn fight nearly broke out between 2 fools, they was arguing about which phone was better, the iphone or the android. Now look youre all a bunch of tools anyway ok, you carry around these little ass computer and all the sudden you think youre some kinda dope player. Now i'll tell you whats dope, carrying one of those brick cell phone like from the 80s, now that right there was some dope shitaky. #nowifi #1995 #notexting #noiphone #noandroid #notechnology #meetpeople #conversate #nothinglikethe80s #missthe90s #dopeplayer
It’s hard to imagine back as little as 20 years and how different everyday communication was. The world seems a much faster and more efficient place. But at what cost?
It seems at the cost of the fundementals of society. An app to make sure that we don’t forget our manners and common decency? I noticed this today: New app helps pregnant commuters find a seat on public transport, but it needs your help
The next time you are on a bus or a train, take notice at how many people are pre-occupied with some form of technology. You will struggle to find many who aren’t.
Another187, 2016. Instagram. Available at http://www.instagram.com. Accessed 23 January 2017.
In recent years there has been a sharp increase in online dating services which rise in tandem with global craving for technology. I guess this can be used as a prime example of cybercuture.
Recently I have been reading about cyborgs and the concept of human-machine hybrids achieving far more than the traditional, organic human – at least from a physical perspective. This, however, prompted me to think about the influence that machine (and indeed technology) has on the mental state of the human form.
The music video embedded within this post is a light hearted sketch of an unpopular, middle aged man exaggerating his physical attributes to attract the opposite sex in online dating environments.
I suddenly remembered studying the concept of presence during my first semester on MSc Digital Education whilst enrolled on Introduction to Digital Environments. Back then I considered digital personas and opportunities that online environments afforded people to change their characteristics to create an idealistic version of themselves. I did not, however, consider the influence this practice has on a wider scale – in particular its contribution to cyberculture.
Technology affords us the opportunity for change. Is that change necessarily always for the better? Does it remove barriers and expectations that are placed upon us in the physical world and in everyday society?
I think that there is a misconception that with technology comes progress. Sure, we may become faster, smarter and more efficient. But what about the qualities that make us who we are? Kindness, honest. Love?
Is online dating better and more advanced than the traditional method? I’m not so sure.
This is another example of bioinformationalism and technology being used to predict human behaviours and functions. It would be hard to imaging a human doctor performing the same task.
Medicine, it would seem, is a particular focus of AI and robotics.
Last night I enjoyed my first experience of Togethertube with my fellow students. It was fun to have conversations during the films even if it did seem a little odd to begin with. On initial reflection, I wondered if Togethertube is what the popular reality TV show Gogglebox (Big Brother style observations of families simply watching TV) will mutate into after exposure to large doses of technology.
The clip entitled ‘Address is approximate’ had me considering posthmanism from the perspective of a robot, or perhaps the machine half of the human-machine hybrid as described by Miller (2011). I previously posted about recent technological developments having digital personas (Siri, Cortana and Alexa) and the push for machine to have life like qualities such as personalities, voices, names etc. What if it was possible for the machine to become so advanced, or become so lifelike, that they began to crave the human form in the way that humans crave the digital?
The following clip was taken from the cult sci-fi series ‘Red Dwarf’. Set 3 million years into deep space and long after the extinction of the human race, the crew of Red Dwarf consists of a human, a hologram, a human evolved from a cat and a mechanoid robot who, over time, breaks his original programming to achieve human qualities.
It again has me wondering if technology will ever have limits. Will scenes such as the one above become the cultural norm? A hybrid society of humans and machines?
Miller, V. (2011). The body and Information Technology. In Understanding digital culture (London, Sage): pp. 207-223.