Sunday, February 26, 2012

Thought Experiment No. 001

So if the Industrial Revolution begins around 1750with continued technological developments until the beginning of the information age in the 1970's, that means we are at about 1790 in terms of computer technology and the Internet. Let's try and think of some possible unimaginable futures of the internet and technology in lets say, 100 years time. 

I think that cyborg beings are inevitable, that computers will be hooked directly to our brains with contact lens monitors and ear piece speakers. All notions of intelligence will become obsolete as everyone will be able to look up the answer on their google brains to any question, and we will be able to choose whether to store our memories on our unreliable brains or infinite harddrives. I can't see any future for human, physical selves at all I guess-but this isn't going far enough because I just imagined the Matrix. What could be so out of the realm of possibility that it has to happen?


  1. great topic
    kurzwiel and the transhumanists offer some interesting discussion re nanotech genes cyborg etc. so check it out

    first a methodological note:
    to me the approach that is useful is not hardware based consideration (ie brains plugged into computers) but thematics (like what you say about expanded memory and total accessibility to information totally changing our conception of intelligence)

    my general view is that the rise in control of genetics, cyborgs and memory all goes towards destabilising the cartesian subject, or in fact, the unified subject at large. that is, the economic system moves beyond the subject as a rational actor and begins to think of its labour resources more in terms of a capital stock of separable parts.

    information technologies allows (ie forces) a capitalist system to industrialise the human experience, the human body, etc . In the same way we get a division of labour leading to marxist "alienation" on the material realm in the industrial revolution, we are moving towards this same process on the immaterial, informational realm.

    it is not clear to me whether this will lead to a collective knowledge project (collective "google" subjectivity) akin to ant colonies, or rather that it will lead to the most alienating knowledge system where our experience of ourselves becomes fragmentary.

  2. I really like the idea of bio-capitalism but I also think that fragmented subjectivity was already a product of the industrial revolution-in the sense that 'alienation' is in fact that while the post-structuralist project was about acknowledging that that all subjectivity is contingent and fragmented against our tendency to naturalize it. Perhaps, the accelerated interpenetration of cybernetics and consciousness will be the physical manifestation of post-structuralism in its push to finally sever the ties between subjectivity, self, physical self and identity. If we become one coalesced mass of nodes within mass consciousness then evolution becomes devolution as we slip back into becoming an amorphous mass of self replicating cells. Following this line of thought, I guess the interesting point will be how the principles of natural selection will play out when the next mutation occurs at this level. As informational nodes, whose experiences, memories and thoughts will be infinitely accessible and capitalized and interchangeable with eachother, and the need for physical bodies becomes less and less, there will be a thinning out of the gene pool and perhaps suddenly, a primordial cyber animal will crawl out from some bio-cybernetic 3D printer that will be a remedy to this.