Posthumanism

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Posthumanism

  1. 1. Posthumanism
  2. 2. Traditional Humanism • Emphasizes the power of individual human mind. • Privileges “rational” thought over embodied emotion. • Values individual autonomy / agency • Draws strong binary distinctions between humans/technologies and humans/animals. • Positions white male as the archetypal “human”
  3. 3. “Consciousness” and Humanism “I think, therefore I am” –Descartes
  4. 4. The Rise of the Cyborg “Electronic media is an extension of the central nervous system.” (McLuhan) “A cyborg is a cybernetic organism, a hybrid of machine and organism, a creature of social reality as well as a creature of fiction.” (Haraway)
  5. 5. Posthumanism • The body is a technological prosthesis (we are always already machines) • “Consciousness” and “embodiment” are not necessary for intelligent action / thought. • Increasing automation and internetworking challenges the notion of individual agency.
  6. 6. Living in a Posthuman Age • Humans come to understand our bodies and our identities through digital / computer-based metaphors. • People attribute conventionally human emotions and motivations to technological tools (anthropomorphism) • How we imagine our technological future influences how we think and act in the present.
  7. 7. 20th century artificial intelligence • Attempts to create computers that can think like humans. • Emphasizes disembodied “rational” thought.
  8. 8. Turing Test Can you distinguish between a (typed) conversation with a computer vs. a human?
  9. 9. Changing Theories of Mind • Embodied Cognition (emphasis on the role of bodily movement and emotion in complex thought) • Distributed Cognition (emphasis on how intelligent action is collectively accomplished by assemblages/groups of humans and machines)
  10. 10. 21st Century Artificial Intelligence • Attempts to develop machines that sense, think, feel, and act like humans.
  11. 11. Key Posthumanist Questions • How does this text represent the relationship between humans and technologies? • How does this text imagine future and thus influence the present? • What does this text argue about how technologies are transforming our understanding of our identities, our bodies, and our social relationships?

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