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TECH2002 Studies in Digital Technology Lecture Week 6

TECH2002 Studies in Digital Technology Lecture Week 6

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  • 1. TECH2002 Studies in Digital Technology Lecture Week 6: Cyberculture and mundane cyborg practice Andrew Clay 6
  • 2.
    • How are people using technology to explore being cybernetic organisms (cyborgs), hybrids of the human and the machine?
    • As ‘networked silicon intelligence embeds itself everywhere’, are we becoming ‘spatially extended cyborgs’ (Mitchell, 2003, pp.38-39) when we use technologies such as the internet or mobile phones?
  • 3. Human Computer Interaction (HCI)
    • Why do we want to connect to machines?
    • How do we make the inanimate animate?
  • 4. blueBook project (Manolis Kelaidis)
  • 5.  
  • 6.  
  • 7. Intelligent textiles – air guitar t-shirt
  • 8. Beyond the Human
    • Popular culture is replete with images of quasi-human/machines.
    • The cyborg is played out as a threat to humanity – to what it means to be human .
  • 9.  
  • 10.  
  • 11. Cyborg
    • Cyborg – cyb ernetic org anism
    • Hybrids of human-machine
    • Cybernetic systems constitute cyborgs by using biology and technology
    • Separable cyborg (pilot-aircraft, ear-hearing aid)
    • Invasive cybernetic technologies – Kevin Warwick
    • Prosthetic cybernetic technologies - Stelarc
    • hybrid (Donna Haraway) bio-technological world
  • 12. Kevin Warwick
  • 13. Slide 13
  • 14.  
  • 15.
  • 16. Stelarc A third virtual arm Muscles stimulated by computers Connection to robotic prosthetics He wants a third ear
  • 17. A new physiological entity? A network of organic and technological parts in a cybernetic circuit
  • 18. The body is trapped by gravity
  • 19. Stelarc
    • ‘ The body is neither a very efficient nor a very durable structure. It malfunctions often and fatigues quickly; its performance is determined by its age. It is susceptible to disease and is doomed to a certain and early death’. (Stelarc, 2000, p.561)
  • 20. Stelarc
    • ‘ The body needs to be repositioned from the psycho realm of the biological to the cyber zone of the interface and extension – from genetic containment to electronic extrusion ’.
    • (Stelarc, 2000, p.560)
  • 21. Stelarc
    • ‘ It is time to question whether a bipedal, breathing body with binocular vision and a 1400cc brain is an adequate biological form. It cannot cope with the quantity, complexity and quality of information it has accumulated…, it is biologically ill-equipped to cope with its new extra-terrestrial environment ’. (Stelarc, 2000, p.561)
  • 22. Cyberculture
    • Lister et al. use the term ‘cyberculture’ in two distinct ways (2003, p.385):
    • ‘ culture and technology’ from cybernetics, of how people live with technology in digital, mechanical and industrial structures
    • theoretical study of the culture and technology of this ‘cyberculture’, and in particular an interest in the profound interrelationship between computer technology and culture in the contemporary world
  • 23. Cyberculture
    • Virtuality
    • Cyborg bodies
    • Identity
    • Cyberspace
    • Disembodiment / embodiment
    • Cybernetics
  • 24. Cyberculture studies Computer and networked technologies biotechnology
  • 25. Cyberpunk fiction 1984 disembodied cyberspace               
  • 26. ‘ technoculture’ increasing incidence of human-machine convergence and interface cyberculture computers and networks biotechnology robotics artificial intelligence (AI) genetics
  • 27. Cybernetics
    • Cyber – ‘to steer’ (Greek) [ kybernetes , steersman]
    • The science of control and communication in animals and machines , biology and technology (Norbert Wiener)
    • Control
    • ‘ smart’ machines
    • Cybernetic technologies
      • Thermostats
      • Ballistic missiles
      • Search engines
  • 28. Cybernetic Media Technologies
    • Loop of constant information and energy exchange, a circuit of constancy of action and reaction
    • Temporary situation of being ‘in the loop’ or ‘plugged in’ to media such as cinema or videogames
  • 29. a simple circuit between the brain and the cinema, the spectator is a cybernetic subject of the physical cinema
  • 30. Videogames as Cybernetic Media
    • In gaming
    • ‘ the circuit serves to reduce the possibilities of motion and action and to amplify the remaining actions through a delicate balance of feedback mechanisms… Cybernetically, then, interactivity is a false description of a process of the programmed elimination of possible actions, not of creating possibilities of actions’
    • (Lister et al., 2003, p.357)
  • 31. Cybernetic Bodies
    • People are no longer separable from the saturation of biology-technology, individually and environmentally
    • Technically a person with a surgical implant such as a pacemaker is a cyborg?
    • But what we really mean by cyborg is a creature that is constituted wholly of biological and technological components
  • 32. Cybernetic Bodies
    • ‘ The contemporary intersection of the body, information and technology gives us a different body from the somewhat fixed and frail, if valiant body we were used to’ (Murphie and Potts, 2003, p.115)
  • 33. Cyborg Issues
    • Technology is increasingly integrated with the human body.
    • Technology is used to augment or replace human physical functions.
    • The ‘Frankenstein myth’ – are we acting outside of our moral capacity?
    • Do our values change when we are hybrid human -machines?
    • What kind of politics do we need to ‘control’ or ‘regulate’ the development of cyborgs?
    • Are we now post-human ?
  • 34. Cyborg Ethics
    • If we can integrate the body with technology – do we need to reconsider the ethics of human action?
    • What empathy do we have with ‘ animalistic ’ organisms if we have become ‘ technological ’ organisms?
    • How do we consider our own identities if they are augmented by machines?
  • 35. Being Post-Human
    • High-tech culture challenges the notion of the ‘human’.
    • Boundaries between the ‘human’ and the ‘machine’ are transgressed .
    • Cyborgs can undertake tasks and roles that humans cannot or do not want to do
    • In embracing the cyborg we can re-define what it means to be human.
  • 36.
  • 37. mobile privatization mobility personalisation
  • 38. Audio technoculture
    • From portables to wearables
    • Internet dematerialisation of music
    • From environmental audio to embodied audio cyborg?
  • 39. ‘ The second best part about the Nike+ running — the cool, video-game like part — is that you not only run, but you also get points for running . Your score ever-increases. Better still, if you set goals for yourself, you even get awesome virtual trophies and ribbons , resplendent in their vector beauty... And the coolest part about Nike+ running? Like any good online game, you can challenge your friends. First to 100 miles? Fastest 5-mile time? Your call’
  • 40.
    • ‘ cyberculture in general is a highly physicalist environment in which the lines dividing biology from technology are erased by biotechnology, art and surgery. If cyberculture has a bias, then, it is not towards disembodiment but towards physicality’
    • (Lister et al., 2003, p.376)
  • 41. Me++
    • William J. Mitchell
    • the transformation of wireless technology in the hundred years since Marconi--the scaling up of networks and the scaling down of the apparatus for transmission and reception
    • This transformation has, in turn, changed our relationship with our surroundings and with each other.
    • ubiquitous, inescapable network interconnectivity
    • a world governed less and less by boundaries and more and more by connections
  • 42. The cyborg self
    • Mitchell suggests that there is a particular embodiment of technology through machines and computer networks that have extended our bodies as machines so that we have become part-machine or cyborgs:
    • I construct, and am constructed, in a mutually recursive process that continually
    • engages my fluid, permeable boundaries and my endlessly ramifying networks. I am a
    • spatially extended cyborg.
    • (Mitchell, 2003, p.39)
  • 43.
    • When I sat down to make a list of audio technoculture I wrote this:
      • Living room radio
      • 45rpm vinyl
      • ‘ rock and roll’
      • Transistor radio
      • Audiocassette reproducibility
      • Walkman mobility
      • CD digitization
      • MP3 compression
      • MP3 player
      • Napster
      • Podcasting
  • 44. Internet as technoculture?
    • Web 2.0 and audio technoculture?
    • Case study
    • From broadcast to network?
    • A different physicality of audio technology?
  • 45. and the cyborg self?
    • Martin Stiksel, co-founder
    • ‘ It’s a new music movement driven by the people, allowing everybody to become a DJ, and every musician to be played right next to Michael Jackson, if their music is up to it’ (Benedictus, 2006)
  • 46. Social music networks and the cyborg self
    • Network flows of information about music tastes
    • Connectivity between music consumers and producers (playlists and artists)
    • Expanding musical knowledge in your taste spectrum
    • From audience to DJ
    • An online radio station that ‘knows’ you through your musical tastes (identity)
  • 47. media/theory (Moores, 2005)
    • structuration, routines, traditions, dailiness, seriality, scheduling, ordinariness , hourliness, lifetime, eventfulness
    • globalisation, stretching, medium, shrinking, unevenness, network, flow, empires, permeability, virtuality
    • typology, mix, intimacy, grief, pathologisation, sociability, conversationalisation, face, friendliness, doubling
    • connotation, multiaccentuality, decoding, export, acts, context, technologies, tastes, fallacy, authentication
    • trust, inattention, reflexivity, risk, labour, performativity, MUDding, community, diasporas, dwellings
  • 48. ordinariness
    • Settled, familiar, known, taken-for-granted character of daily use of media
    • Television and radio – ‘ordinary’ media
    • Habitual, mundane, underwhelming predictable enjoyment
    • But this has been learned as the technology has been incorporated into everyday life
    • Are we learning to make network media ordinary?
    • What is extraordinary about new media?
  • 49. Podcasting – ordinary – extraordinary?
  • 50. Mundane cyborg practice (Petersen, 2007)
    • Human-computer-internet action
  • 51.
    • ‘ always on’ broadband internet has allowed it to become a mundane technology of ‘constant connectivity’
    • ‘ mundane cyborg practice’ of human-computer-internet action
    • Study of 6 broadband users (students, unemployed academics) at 4 homes
    • 48 hours of observation per home
    • Home – network of household connection
    • Time – habitual, repetitive browsing (news, blogs, email, IM) as part of the patterns of the day
    • Multifunctional spontaneous use as part of the everyday routines of home – as a flow and mixing of study, work, leisure
    • Remediation of previous tasks
    • Restructure of physical setting – closeness to computers
    • Ubiquitous computing and mobile phones :
    • ‘ the experience of computing becomes more and more physical and material, underlining the fact that we will still go about our lives as mundane cyborgs’ (Petersen, 2007, p.89)
  • 52. Conclusion
    • How do you use computers as part of your everyday life as a ‘mundane cyborg practice?
    • Do you feel as though you are part of a growing technoculture or cyberculture?
    • What is the ordinariness or extraordinariness of human-computer-internet action?
  • 53. Bibliography Benedictus, L. (2006), Martin Stiksel [WWW] Available at,,1939028,00.html (Accessed 6 November 2006). Lister, M. (et al.) (2003) New Media: A Critical Introduction , London and New York, Routledge. Mitchell, W. J. (2003) Me++: The Cyborg Self and the Networked City , Cambridge, Mass., MIT Press. Moores, S. (2005) Media/Theory , London and New York, Routledge. Murphie, A. and Potts, J. (2003) Culture & Technology , Basingstoke, Palgrave. Petersen, S. M. (2007) Mundane Cyborg Practice: Material Aspects of Broadband Internet Use, Convergence 13:1. pp.79-91. Stelarc (2000) From Psycho-Body to Cyber-Systems: Images as Post- Human Entities, in Bell, D. and Kennedy, B. (Eds) The Cybercultures Reader , London and New York, Routledge.