he Reasonable Cyborg takes as a given that technology, no matter how powerful, is instrumental to naked human intention. Some RCs may grant that it is possible for naked humans, through inattention, laziness or lack of insight to cede their agency to technological processes. They may advocate that Cyborgs periodically unplug from technology enough to disrupt habits that reinforce this agency cessation. They may suggest various strategies to better manage the incursions into human agency technology may make including various forms of meditation or mindfulness, or simply taking a walk in places they like to designate as Nature.
The speculative turn here can lead me to omit from my discussions the high quality blogging I read by more Reasonable Cyborgs. I call them reasonable not because I necessarily agree with each of them, but because of their approach. Generally, a Reasonable Cyborg writes in a continuum from an informed illustration of a trend to a contribution meant to help to solve the challenge the ubiquitous coding of earth presents.
For the most part, they are doing something different from me, but their work is relevant here, covering ground I mostly neglect. Reasonableness goes beyond mere practicality, to include a vision of the human/technology relationship quite different from what I discuss here.
I have conceptualized here the cyborg in Haraway-ian fashion, as hybrid of the human and the cybernetic, the machinic, the algorithmic. I have suggested that these partners to the human have a kind of agency that left unexamined is likely to lead to humans misunderstanding their relationship with the machinic. I have let Prof Haraway speak for herself in cautioning against “the solace of human exceptionalism”.
Somehow this seems still a half measure. Somehow the human almost always seems the senior partner in the hybridization. The cell phone, the internet of coffee makers, cars, consumer artifacts of every description, the vast extractive enterprises leveling mountains for a few tons of gold, rare earth metals, copper, the semi-autonomous war machines, manufacturing complexes seem somehow, even with a rampant speculative turn here, augmentation. That is augmentation to the vivid subjet-ivity of human consciousness which experiences each iteration of the machinc as individual, driving nothing from their networked existence, existing only as cell phone, coffee makers, extraction and manufacturing. Continue reading “The Nomadic Cyborg”