Tuesday, February 19, 2013

EDCMOOC Mish mash of weeks 2 ,3 & 4

How old is old?

Johnston, R (2009) Salvation or destruction: metaphors of the internet. First Monday, 14(4). 

Johnson summarises the four main metaphorical themes of physical space, physical speed, destruction and salvation that emerged in her research. As with Technological Determinism, I think this research again demonstrates human propensity to attach emotional value to something that intrinsically has no emotional value.  
The whole way through that article I was thinking "but, the internet is not the cause of all these things it is being accused of. It is simply a tool. If there is a shift in social values and if discussion is being abbreviated and is becoming more superficial, it is not because of the internet, it is because we (humans) are allowing this to happen."

What Johnston's research shows us once again, is that collectively, we like to refuse to responsibility for our actions and to seek ways in which to shift the blame. (Another human trait?) Destruction and Salvation reside within us. Not within inanimate tools.



Being Human the central theme to all our musings. I'm finding myself chasing the themes of desire and seeking that arose in last weeks (2) videos, and that lovely word, `sentient' which has arisen this week.

Sentient
adjective
having the power of perception by the senses; conscious.
characterized by sensation and consciousness.
noun
a person or thing that is sentient.
Archaic. the conscious mind.
Origin: 
1595–1605;  < Latin sentient-  (stem of sentiēns,  present participle of sentīre  to feel), equivalent to senti- verb stem + -ent- -ent

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/sentient 

This week, I thought I was a Digital Human, connected 24/7 to my insulin pump implant and constant glucose sensing monitor, but now I think I'll be TransHuman .....


Regarding `Transhumanist Values'
Nick Bostrom poses the question of whether as full posthumans we will be so far removed from our original selves that we can no longer be called human. "it could be that certain modes of being, while possible, are not possible for us, because any being of such a kind would be so different from us that they could not be us." I think that the transitions to this state of posthumanism will take so long that they will become evolutionary and our definition of human will evolve along with the transitions. 
The discussion is entirely subjective basing the supposition of becoming transhuman then posthuman upon the current state of being human. It won't happen that way. 
The statement that "There are limits to how much can be achieved by low-tech means such as education, philosophical contemplation, moral self-scrutiny and other such methods", is predicated on current knowledge and methodology of these methods of social constructivism. Where is the allowance for the impact of greater communication of social and educational effort in a technologically enabled world?
The fact that "150,000 human beings on our planet die every day, without having had any access to the anticipated enhancement technologies that will make it possible to become posthuman." not only begs the question about the opportunity to become transhuman, but about the first steps of health and education, that in global areas of wealth and power are creating the basic conditions to support the movement toward transhumanism. While the primary threat to the transhumanist project is the `Existential Risk', the global effort must be to stabilise power and support human populations everywhere. 

The right to choose - Enhancement technologies - considering that we can't even agree on the right to choose birth control, I think this is going to be a big one!

I've been holding onto the news last week of the discovery that a piece of DNA can be used as data storage, promoting the thought that this is going to be basic technology for the ongoing development of Artificial Intelligence and of transhuman mental capacity enhancement, but then I thought to myself, "Well, it's all very well to have massive memory storage available, but what about the cognitive processes (selection, analysis, evaluation, decision making), necessary to make use of it?"

and finally regarding this paragraph..."Since we are still far from being able to halt or reverse aging, cryonic suspension of the dead should be made available as an option for those who desire it. It is possible that future technologies will make it possible to reanimate people who have cryonically suspended.[10] While cryonics might be a long shot, it definitely carries better odds than cremation or burial." I think I'll decide to believe in the concept of `deja vu' and being born again.