The Posthuman Body.
This week we were looking at the body and its entanglements with science and technology.
key words we thought about this lecture are:
– The posthuman
– The cyborg
– AI (artificial intelligence)
– Genetic modification
The belief that the human being occupies a natural and eternal place at the very centre of things, where it is distinguished absolutely from machines, animals, and other inhuman entities; where it shares with all other human beings a unique essence; where it is the origin of meaning and the sovereign subject of history
The belief that human beings are the central or most significant species on the planet (in the sense that they are considered to have a moral status or value higher than that of all other organisms), or the assessment of reality through an exclusively human perspective.
The term Posthuman challenges this idea of Anthropocentrism.
The Anthropocene is a proposed epoch that begins when human activities started to have a significant global impact on Earth’s geology and ecosystems.
The Anthropocene is based on overwhelming global evidence that atmospheric, geologic, hydrologic, biospheric and other earth system processes are now altered by humans.
Humans have managed in our short life time on earth, to affect all aspects of the environment. Humans have basically ruined everything so much that we are now in a new geological era. When our generation is looked back on on years to come they will find things such a plastic bottles, chicken bones and radioactive elements as all we left behind.
For me this is quite a hard hitting fact, are we not ashamed as a generation, as a species that we have let this happen? That we have changed the environment and the very thing that is keeping us alive so much is such a negative way? I personally feel great shame when reading this! What kind of example are we setting to those in the future looking back at our life time.
“a reflection on how the effects on and of contemporary technoculture and biotechnology force through a rethinking of the integrities and identities of the human”.
– Ivan Callus and Stefan Herbrechter, guest Subjectivity (journal), 2012
Through technology and science today we have gone beyond being human, this creating a lasting shift.
The posthuman is, most simply, the desired endpoint of transhumanism. That is, a posthuman is a new, hybrid species of future human modified by advanced technology. The posthuman entails the blurring of distinctions between humans and machines.
This is quite a scary concept/ reality for me, as a ‘human’ I would never want to alter my body to become more like a computer but I guess through my frequent use of technology since 1995 I have constantly been surrounded by it. I spend probably more time with technology than I do with other humans, or even while with them I still have my phone. This is something that I am trying to change ( as I sit here on my own on my laptop), I often find myself leaving my phone off or in a different room and just enjoying time spent with other people, as I personally do feel that everyone can get wrapped up in technology. Some people to the point where they alter their bodies to become “posthuman” or “Transhuman”. This is a very scary but very real concept and one in which the world is heading towards.
Examples of people/ artists combining/ adjusting their body to technology.
This man lost part of his finger and decided that it would be more useful if he had a USB inserted in place of his finger. I personally think this is ridiculous for a number of reasons:
- What if it rains, and your hand gets wet – will this ruin the memory stick?
- What happens when the memory stick gets full?? then you’re left with an even more useless finger than beforehand.
- How on earth are you meant to type on the computer properly or get any work done if your hand is stuck in the side of your laptop.
The list could go on.
Apparently there are a number of ways one can become posthuman, the list is as follows:
Microchipping (animals, employees, oneself)
subdermal magnet implants
gender reassignment (hormone/prosthetic technology)
IVF reproductive technologies
activity trackers (Fitbit)
chimeras: an organism that contains cells from two different species