As we come to the end of the semester, it’s natural to look back, and draw conclusions about the course as a whole. The dominant notion rattling around my head recently has been the idea that we’ve always been posthuman, or, since this is clearly a paradox, that posthumanism as a term is flawed.
This paper intends to analyze the potential socioeconomic effect of the transhumanist enhancement technologies hailed by Ray Kurzweil and others. Although Kurzweil argues that a market stimulus effect and the exponential rate of the growth of technology will allow for these enhancements to quickly become universally accessible, I would argue that because advances in technology are generally made available first to the wealthy and because concerns of genetic enhancement are typically not the concerns of the lower and middle class, enhancement technology would continue to widen the gap between the rich and the poor. Continue reading
As we discussed the uncertainties that Hayles grappled with when discussing the posthuman, I felt myself experiencing these same uncertainties. I found it difficult to grasp the concept of the posthuman in a neat and tidy way. I agreed with Hayles that there are two sides to the viewing of this concept and I feel ambivalent to it as well.
In an effort to contextualize the phenomenology of the constant interactions between humans and technological media, I immediately reference the influences of certain technological advances on the human body; Many medical devices and practices directly change the human body. While organs and prosthetic limbs are used to sustain life or to enhance aspects of living, like one’s mobility, for example, some prescription drugs alter a person’s perception of reality (like medicine to prevent hallucinations), and some prevent pregnancy. Though I, like many people, can attest to the awesome usefulness of medical products that help body functionality, heal ailments, and prevent harm, there is also an intrigue that comes from the notion that technological advancements developed to change the body, and which influence the move from human to transhuman present no clear forecast for how the precious entity, the human body, will be impacted. Continue reading
In many ways one could make the argument that human and machine perform almost entirely the same functions. Both have the capability of storing information, responding to commands, and processing information. Both brain and machine operate by transmitting electrical signals. However, the single most distinct characteristic of humanity seems to be the challenging and unmeasurable concept of soul. Continue reading
While reading and engaging with the texts assigned for this week, I find myself questioning a lot of the post-humanist rhetoric concerning the striving for the immortal, infallible human body and mind. Within the last two semesters, I’ve started learning about and exploring the area of disability studies, especially within feminist disability studies, and some of the concepts of post-humanism discussed throughout Elaine L. Graham’s Representations of the post/human and Langdon Winner’s article “Are Humans Obsolete?” are, I believe, greatly at odds with the goals and advances of feminist disability studies activism. Continue reading