An article in CNN yesterday carries this headline: Cyborg anthropologist: We can all be superhuman.
The definition of being “superhuman,” according to the author – a “Cyborg Anthropologist” – is inextricably tied to dependence on tech. Tech, she says, makes us all superhuman. However, she then goes on to describe a world of human cyborgs where humans are totally dependent on tech to know how they feel, what and when to eat, when to sleep, when to change jobs and how to generally move forward with every minute detail of their lives.
Consider the following quote: “Taking data from across many different silos is where the opportunity is. If I knew my mood, hunger level, and location at a given time of the day, I could figure out if my mood caused me to want to eat, or if I was unhappy at work and needed a different job.”
Explain to me why you need machines to tell you your mood, hunger level and whether or not you like your job? Isn’t that what your biological functions and thinking brain are for? Is there something wrong with you? Do you have a sensory disorder? Instead of being self-aware, considerate, mindful humans, you advocate everyone having some little piece of tech that tells them when to eat, sleep and change jobs at the “ideal” times.
You are not a superhuman at all, and you are not promoting “super” humanity–You are promoting a dependent, weak, uncreative and disconnected humanity. I know “cyborg” and “superhuman” sound cooler. But you sound to me like an eager volunteer for technological slavery which, by extension, also equates to a kind of surrender to the corporations that are developing and selling the tech. How can outsourcing basic human functions and considerations to technology constitute anything but an anti-human viewpoint? A cynical viewpoint that we’re all just too damned dumb to figure out how to manage even the most basic, human aspects of ourselves? You are perhaps a “Cyborg Anthropologist,” but your article suggests this title merely makes you one of many giddy ribbon-cutters for a technologically-enabled, utterly dependent generation of dweeby Corporate Techno-Zombies.
“Superhuman Cyborgs,” if you will…beings that, when left without their gadgets and the corporations that produce them, become lost, confused and entirely useless.
I’ll risk being “left behind” in the tech revolution (which, even according to this article, has more to do with tracking us and everything we’re doing than anything else,) and keep using the brain God gave me. Lately it’s been quite effective at telling me when to eat, when to sleep and when my job totally sucks…But only if I listen to it. With all the data that would be collected on where we go and how we eat, sleep, and work, apps may tell us how to do things better but ultimately we are only taking instructions from the corporations behind the tech, and telling them how to sell us more stuff that we can hardly afford and that we hardly need.
Sleep App registers trouble sleeping? Try this pill. Nutrition app says we’re Vitamin C deficient? Flash an ad for Sunkist oranges. Stress Levels app says we’re too frazzled? Brookstone recommends this massage chair; especially effective when combined with a bar of Xanax from your friends in Big Pharma. They’re all watching and listening, through your tech, with bated breath. The reason that so much new tech impedes on privacy, and the reason we’re told it’s a good thing, is because privacy is a terrible nuisance to figuring out ways to market and sell more crap to people.
Perhaps I’m old-fashioned, but in my view all the most advanced apps in the world can never replace the poetic efficiency of biology or the human spirit itself. In fact at some critical point in our future, with the line between technological innovation and dependence becoming increasingly fragile, they may only help to crush it.
Verizon Patent Application: TV set-top boxes featuring “at least one of a depth sensor, an image sensor, an audio sensor, and a thermal sensor” that can see if you’re cuddling, fighting, eating, sleeping, exercising, singing, playing music, etc., and using the information to provide moment-to-moment relevant advertising.