After reading “Are Humans Obsolete?” and “Learning to Be Me” on the blog today, I read the introduction to Graham’s Representations of the Post/Human. Although the introduction did explore many different aspects of the works that we read for today, it also mentioned during the “Re-Enchantment” sub-heading more about the human agent in creating technology.
Throughout Langdon Winner’s “Are Humans Obsolete?” essay and much of Graham’s introduction, there was a focus on the ways in which technology is changing the future and how to define human as the line between machines and humans continues to be blurred. However, I found it interesting that as Graham states, “technological processes always entail human agents” (Graham 10). The human agency necessary to create the technology and scientific advances occurring further entangles the mixture of the human and the machine.
Examining the human as a creator of technology that may later turn into a post-human emphasizes the religious theme of creation that Graham notes is present in many representations of the post-human. According to Graham, the act of creation of a post-human defines the human as a divine figure, while in “Learning to Be Me” by Greg Egan, the divinity is seen through the immortality and perfection of the machine-like altered humans with the “jewels”. In the work, it is not the humans that will live forever, but the “jewel” that is immortal and will live on for eternity. Further, when the son learns that his parents have undergone the alteration to have the jewel surgery, he defines his parents not only as machines, but as gods.
The duality that is seen in the view of who is immortal and god-like is an idea that I found to be interesting throughout the texts for today. Is the divine one the human who created the technologically advanced post-human or will it be the post-human that can surpass the intelligence of the humans that created it?