Humanity’s merge with its technology, which began shortly after the taming of fire, is still happening today. Many predict that the fine-tuning of our DNA-based biology through stem cell and genetic research will spark a powerful nanotech revolution that promises to redesign and rebuild our bodies and the environment, pushing the limits of today’s understanding of life and the world we live in.
Augmenting or replacing our flesh with artificial nanomaterials will not automagically eliminate concerns over sickness, accidents, or unwanted death. The circumstances for these will change, along with opening up whole new vistas for our fellow cybermonkeys to try to take our electrofood.
I see a more positive future unfolding. Do I view events with more optimism? Yes I do.
Posted by b. on 01/07 at 12:17 PM
I appreciate the first sentence which clearly shows humanities relationship to technology as long and continuous. Still, I don’t think it goes far enough. Saying that “Humanity Becomes Technology” implies it has not happened yet, which seems to conflict with the first sentence. “Humanity Becoming Technology” could be better, but sets up an artificial dichotomy between humanity and technology, which I think is false. There is no humanity if there is no technology (of course I’m agreeing with you that fire is a technology, and I would argue so is language), and there is no human-centred technology if there is no humanity. (There is non-human technology, as in non-human animals using tools optimized for specific tasks.) It has been argued that our very biological evolution has already been shaped by our technology.
For example: We are bipedal, but in order to be bipedal we need to have narrow pelvises, if we have narrow pelvises we have to deliver infants that are not developed enough to survive on their own (can’t even hold onto their mothers like infant monkeys). We can only survive as a species if our infants survive, so we must carry and protect them. How can we do that? Invent the sling to hold our infants without interfering with gathering and moving. Thus our evolution is already strictly tied to our technology. We would not have made it this far without our technology, nor would we be the biological creatures we are today.
I don’t think the division between us and technology is tenable, we are hopelessly integrated into our technology, and perhaps we have been so for as long as we have aware of ourselves as human (or longer). I don’t think any of these discussions can really move forward without taking the unity of technology and humanity as a starting point.