Was just talking to my boss about the ways we are merging with our technologies, how in the future we are going to be very closely merged with our machines, how in the future the machines will be us rather than simply used by us. He said that this was already happening to a certain extent, and I told him that it was always already the case that we have been constituted by our technologies. Language is a technology that is in our heads and in what we do. We’ve always already been cyborgs, etc. etc.
The specific trajectory of computers, however, is perhaps an interesting point to think more about the implications of our cyborg nature. Consider this: the entire history of computers has been one of decreasing distance between human and machine. First they were so huge they had to be sequestered into their own basements and rooms, for the sole use of elite scientists. Then they were made small enough to fit on a desktop in a bedroom or office, and intuitive enough for “personal” use. After that they have been made yet smaller and easier; they now fit into our hands and pockets and can be used even by children.
The emerging technology of Google Glass furthers this trajectory and confirms a teleology where computers are made to be smaller so they can come closer to us. It is not surprising, then, to hear about cochlear implants, or unusual to imagine other sorts of machines embedded within our skulls and interfacing directly with our neural networks.
But this is still nothing new. The parallels with language still run deep. My boss said that it would really suck to get a first-generation head-computer only to be presented with an upgrade a year down the line. Damn it, they’re going to have to crack my skull open again! And I thought, damn, can you imagine being dumber than everyone else just because you can’t even afford to constantly upgrade your head-computer?
These are problems we already face in somewhat different forms. Many of us already cannot afford to “upgrade” our “head computers”—I barely wouldn’t have, had it not been for the privileges afforded to me by my upbringing and by the advent of financial aid. And my ability to even use this upgraded “technology” also comes from the privilege of having the time and energy to learn how to effectively use it.
I feel like a big old nerd using these sorts of metaphors to understand things… but machines are so strange, and I like the ability they have to estrange things we’ve always thought of as innate or “natural.” Like, is it really that crazy to say, for example, that both language and machines become easier to use, and indeed come closer to us the more we use them?
23 Apr 2014 / 2 notes
i just realized that that new watch i ordered has dolphins on it
that’s so fuckin dope
22 Apr 2014 / 3 notes
I Heard That Lonesome Whistle by Hank Williams
all alone I bear this shame / I’m a number, not a name / I heard that lonesome whistle blow / all I do is set and cry / when that evening train goes by / I heard that lonesome whistle blow
22 Apr 2014 / 0 notes
From the Wikipedia entry for Monism:
Monism is the philosophical view that a variety of existing things can be explained in terms of a single reality or substance. The wide definition states that all existing things go back to a source which is distinct from them (e.g. in Neoplatonism everything is derived from The One). A commonly-used, restricted definition of monism asserts the presence of a unifying substance or essence.
One must distinguish “stuff monism” from “thing monism”. According to stuff monism there is only one kind of stuff (e.g. matter or mind), although there may be many things made out of this stuff. According to thing-monism there exists strictly speaking only a single thing (e.g. the universe), which can only be artificially and arbitrarily divided into many things. Spinoza was a pantheistic thing monist, while Nietzsche was a stuff monist (everything is “will to power”).
In contrast to monism, are metaphysical dualism[note 1] and metaphysical pluralism.[note 2]
The term monism originated from Western philosophy, and has often been applied to various religions.
I did something about it. I bought a new watch, too, but it’s not so much a replacement as it is an addition to the family. Yes. If you look closely it is well past 1 AM and I have more than half of a paper to write. I know I have it easier than many of my peers at the moment so I am not even worried, mainly just annoyed.
21 Apr 2014 / 0 notes
I meant to reply to this earlier, I think I was probably feeling kind of bad when I got this but lately I’m kind of ok. I have a mountain of work ahead of me but it’s just schoolwork and I’m good at schoolwork. I do like life, yes, and, well, thank you, this is an enigmatic yet lovely message to receive.
20 Apr 2014 / 1 note
autumn!!!!!!! ♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️ her dinners were always the loveliest
this past year and a half I’ve never lost this watch (but often come close) and then here we are
20 Apr 2014 / 1 note
disclaimer in the wikipedia article for Tlön Uqbar Orbis Tertius
20 Apr 2014 / 9 notes