Things Can Be Otherwise – Session 4

On Being with Technology.

Within this seminar we explored the role technology plays within society and the way in which it is viewed as a tool in order to aid us. From a stick of charcoal to a phone, technology comes in many forms and affects us as beings in various ways.

In the case of Haraway, he believes that we are cyborgs, to him a cyborg is a hybrid of technology (or machine) and organism. (Haraway 2000: 291)

‘All the experiences we have, thoughts we hold or actions we take are either enabled, expressed or informed by technology’ (‘skipping the step of original unity’; Haraway 2000: 292).

Through this we question are we cyborgs? Before answering we discussed what a cyborg is. Reviewing Haraway’s thoughts gave a foundation to the question, but through discussion we agreed that we as beings would not be able to survive without tools. They are fundamental to our existence and because of that we can agree that we are cyborgs. Nowadays, tools such as match.com and Facebook even allow us to communicate and find love without the need for a physical presence. We can also have prosthetic limbs attached to our bodies, revealing how technology can even become physically a part of us.

It is clear that technology has an effect and leaves a mark on the world.

‘the world is an infrastructure of equipment’  G. Harman (2002, Tool-Being p20)

On the other hand, technology and tools have been seen as separate things:

tool n. 1 a device or implement, typically hand-held, used to carry out a particular function. 2 a thing used to help perform a job.

technology n. the application of scientific knowledge for practical purposes. > machinery and equipment based on such knowledge. (Concise Oxford Dictionary)

Some within the class argued that if we have always relied on tools to survive, does that not simply make us human and not cyborgs? This in itself opened many other doors in questioning what it means to be human and whether we can categorise technology and tools to be the same thing? If so how do they differ and what does that mean for us as beings? These are all very large questions that require much more in depth reading before arriving at a concluding paragraph.

Overall, I enjoyed this seminar as I found it to relate to current times as well as my practice as it does investigate the impact of technology and what it means to be a cyborg. This is a strong contender for my essay as it is the one that I have taken the most enjoyment from so far. I also feel it has provoked me to think about the topic beyond the seminar and has made me more aware of our relationship with technology. However, more reading is required from acknowledged philosophers to improve my understanding further and allow me to be more confident within my answers.

 

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Author: marislathamgraphics

I am a student at Cardiff Metropolitan University studying BA Hons Graphic Communication.

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