IEET > Vision > Affiliate Scholar > Melanie Swan > HealthLongevity > Futurism > Innovation
Wearables-Mobile-IOT Tech creates Fourth Person Perspective
Melanie Swan   May 20, 2014   Ethical Technology  

So far the individual has almost always existed in the context of a society of others. This could change in the farther future as individuals might be in the form of a variety of digital and physical copies in different stages of augmentation.

 It could get harder to find ‘like-others.’ My claim is that the function of alterity (an awareness of others that triggers subjectivation) would need to persist for individuals to fully become themselves, but it would not need to come from others that are like us.

All that is needed is some sort of external otherness that can show the individual itself in a new way to facilitate a moment of development. There is nothing in the function of alterity to suggest that it must be an ‘other’ that is like the subject. It is just that it has been this way historically, because other humans have been the only form of ‘other.’ It has been easiest and most noticeable when another human serves as a device like a mirror allowing the subject to see itself in a new way.

However, it is quite possible that the alterity function could be fulfilled in many other ways that do not involve a self-similar subject. One mechanism that is already affording allowing us to see ourselves in a new ways is quantified self-tracking gadgetry.

The ensemble of these gadgets creates a fourth-person perspective, an objective means of seeing the self via exteriority and alterity that can trigger a developmental moment. In fact, there could be many alternative means of fulfilling the alterity function.  

Melanie Swan
Melanie Swan, MBA, is an Affiliate Scholar of the IEET. Ms. Swan, principal of the MS Futures Group, is a philosopher, science and technology futurist, and options trader.

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