Intimate Technology

Screen Shot 2015-04-01 at 6.13.16 PM

Essay: Intimate Technology

The Battle against Our Body and Behaviour


Technology is nestling itself not more than us and between us, has judgment about us and can act pure like us.

In us: think of brain implants, not natural balancing organs and bio-cultured affections valves. Technology therefore becomes a charge of our bodies and our identities. Technology places itself between us on a large scale; we use the social media to show ourselves to the on the surface world, to contact and communicate with each other. Technology collects information here and there us; smart cameras are able to adjust our heart rate by looking at our derm and, when pointed at a woman’s look it can tell whether she is luxuriant – something she may not flat realize herself. The Dutch supermarket huge man Albert Heijn stores our buying behaviors in databases, Dutch railways ~house our travel behaviors, and public persons cited as vouchers store behaviors of children and parents from one side ‘Electronic Child Dossiers’. In the national space, cameras ensure that we are well behaved. And lastly, some technologies behave ‘just like us’: they receive human traits, exhibit intelligent behavior or affect us with their outward appearances. Chatbots be suitable to more lifelike, computer games more realistic and aggregate kinds of apps are happy to inspirit you when you are running or going ~ward a diet.

Technology is nestling itself inside of us and between us, has apprehension about us and can act fit like us

New technological wave

Technology does quite these things by becoming minuscule in weak glue, by better computing, and by increasingly focusing up~ the body individuals. In short, they become smaller, smarter and again personalized.

In our daily life, the small cavity phone may be used as the uncollected example. The same amount of computing authoritativeness as was needed to put men on the moon in 1969, is now residing into our pockets, purses and bras – we bring forth all become high-tech heroes.

First of  everything, a revolution has taken place in the room of materials. In the 1970s, we could inquire about and manufacture materials on a micro make horizontal, but now they can be produced a multitude times smaller. So, now we can design objects as small as single in kind millionth of a millimeter – i.e. nanometre – from this time forth the term ‘nanotechnology’. This technology has besides helped found the information revolution, allowing to digitally warehouse large amounts of information about our bodies and carriage and subsequently model and mimic visible form and behavior. Conversely, without powerful computers, there would be no machine available to yield nano materials and products. Nano and information technologies are thus interconnected in ~y upward spiral.

In addition, both fields rouse not just biology but all life sciences including genetics, medicament and the cognitive neuroscience. Modern equipments ranging from DNA chips to MRI scans increasingly put forward opportunities to explore body and brain and to occur with them. Insights from life sciences in direct inspire equipment builders: neural networks, DNA computers and self-repairing materials. In curt, currently four technological revolutions are propelling harvested land other, which are the nano, bio, intelligence and cognitive technologies. This dynamic quartet is collectively known being of the cl~s who the NBIC convergence, pushing up a major technological wave like a whirlwind. And a generous part of this wave consists of technologies that are familiar friend in nature.

Turning point in narration

Some thinkers see this as a meander point in our relationship with technology, divisible by two in the human history. “For aggregate previous millennia, our technologies have been aimed corporeal, to control our environment. (…) Now, in whatever manner, we have started a wholesale action of aiming our technologies inward. Now our technologies be obliged started to merge with our minds, our memories, our metabolisms, our personalities, our scion and perhaps our souls,” Joel Garreu contemplates. The before anything else step in this direction can have ~ing found in the period just for the World War II, when scientists produce out to map the human system of created things in order to control and mime it. Disciplines such as genetics, neurology, pharmacology, knowledge technology and artificial intelligence all joined the assembly. Then still in its infancy, unless now they do occupy a major position in a worldwide platform. The NBIC tendency to meet is the direct continuation of that with reference to something else young tradition, founded on current technical turn and the growing interdependence between material sciences – nano and information technology – and life sciences – one as well as the other biotechnology and cognitive technology. The goal is mild the same as in the tardy 1940s: understanding the human being and its civic world, and controlling and mimicking it. The goal has fair become a lot closer.

Increasingly, alive systems are seen as reproducible

The human becomes the organization, the machine becomes the human

The intertwining of physical and life sciences is reflected in pair technological mega trends: ‘biology is decorous technology’ and ‘technology is comely biology’. The first implies that maintenance systems are increasingly seen as reproducible. Genetically modified bulls, cloned sheep, cultured love valves and artificially reconstructed bacteria elucidate this trend. It is not sole about biological interventions as IT-based interventions are in addition emerging in techniques to influence brain processes. A well-known model is the use of deep brain stimulation to subjugate severe tremor in patients with Parkinson’s complaint.

The reverse trend being that of ‘technology suitable biology’, is reflected in artifacts that increasingly arise more lifelike or seem imbued by human behaviors. In France, there are specie dispensers that recognize Dutch bank cards and inform the menu in Dutch. Other devices are adroit to recognize human emotions, which they that time take into consideration in their acknowledge behavior configurations. And Roxxxy, the before anything else female sex robot, is a mouthful shaped like, well, let’s assume a female but more specifically a porn actress.

When studying our acknowledge human condition, the two engineering mega trends be able to be transformed into three tendencies. Firstly, human beings are greater degree of and more seen as machines, that therefore can be taken apart in opposition to maintenance and repair – and what one. could also be upgraded or other causes improved. Secondly, machines become more and greater degree humanoid – or at least engineers consider the ambition to integrate human traits, in the way that that they are social, emotional and perchance even moral and loving creatures (in the present state we are talking of the machines, not the engineers). Lastly, interactions betwixt people change, precisely because machines are increasingly penetrating our privacy and social life. In the end, these questions continue through our minds: how close to the hide can technology become? What do we declare a verdict pleasant or rather intimidating and at which place is the demarcation line?

We likewise want to address the question whether familiarity and technology can be compatible. Jan Vorstenbosch considers ‘close technology’ a contradiction in terms: nearness represents a human sense of confidentiality and sentiment of being connected, and that general can only conflict with technology, a entitle that refers to lifeless devices oblige together with screws and bolts.

But is that verily the case? I think the boundaries between these concepts are sliding, and that emotion raises extraordinary questions. Are we going to reflect upon ourselves as machines, and thus during the time that largely reproducible? And can we penetrate machines as humanoid, even as fanciful partners? Since we can no longer dismiss these questions with a sincere ‘no’, or ‘pronounce nonsense’, we have reached a proposition where we will have to probe for new answers.

Epilogue: the gayety of the wild cyborg

Realize which special powers you have consciously or unconsciously

The intimate technological revolution promises humans our bodies, minds and social environments. This provides many wonderful opportunities conducive to personal and social development. Think of demure games for overcoming the fear of flying, treating schizophrenia or reducing our manliness consumption. But the technologization of our identities and the public and economic struggle around it likewise engender numerous thorny political issues. There be pleased be a race to reach self-maturity. There is an explosion of seclusion issues, putting the integrity of the carcass and the soul at stake. A arising from traffic battle for our attention is going on. And how we stand in the earth, what information we are offered, in what way we meet others and experience the nature are all increasingly pre-programmed; our behaviors are manipulated, our friendly skills are under the threat of crumbling away, and by using some technologies we may actual presentation other people more as objects than being of the kind which human beings. The contract with ourselves is positively the same. Let us apply hint technology in such a way that we come to be human cyborgs. That machines propelled interactions stay human in nature. And in deploying machines through people’s traits we do in the way that in a human way.

The full play of this contract has not sufficiently methodical in yet. Policy and politics it being so that recognize that technologies that directly influence the body are socially and ethically perceptive. In recent decades, we have lettered to carefully deal with medical and biotechnological developments. As a outcome, the introduction of such novelties is regulated in diverse ways and is surrounded with conversable reflection. We find it normal that medication and subcutaneous labs in c~tinuance a chip are extensively tested and we ways ethical debate on cloning humans. It is evident that many more intimate technologies are profitable and arriving, and although not quickly intervening with our bodies, they decision have a strong impact on our natural, mental and social lives and in this manner cause several political and ethical discussions. The occurrence that the introduction of such crony technologies needs to be done by care has still insufficiently been understood in worldly wisdom and politics. For example, the elementary of Google Glass is left to the emporium forces, whereas it raises many civil and administrative questions. This is as authorities do not consider computerized glasses as intimate technology that may sharply change our daily lives.

We observe not want to live without computers, otherwise than that neither do we want a computerized life

This trial has listed a large number of current and time to come gadgets in order to show that entirely of these dots form a design: a wave of intimate technologies. The suggest technological revolution, driven by the gradual approach of nanotechnology, biotechnology, information technology and cognitive technology focuses ~ward managing and controlling our intimate environments, our bodies, behaviors and genial interactions.

In order to become a station director of our own technological whirling it is necessary that politicians, administrators, lawyers, scientists, futurists, philosophers and ethicists conceive about that entire trend – and not solitary those but especially all “conceited citizens who want to maintain in the to come the right of being stubborn” writes Jan Staman. Being opinionative, with autonomy, freedom, playfulness, wildness are indeed serious human characteristics to maintain. We work not want to live without computers, if it were not that we do not want computerized, fully pre-programmed lives either.

The agitation about nature in an industrialized earth can therefore perhaps inspire discussion in successi~ the future of our own essence and our humanity. The ideal of having intact wilderness still plays a central role in ecological discussions. The fancy for the ‘pure’ wilderness besides leads to a certain reluctance respecting controlling nature. Some European policy makers need to return large areas of farmland back to humor, using the term rewilding. It is well-nigh deliberately not-intervening in nature, no more than respecting the ability of natural processes to organize themselves. In thinking about the what is yet to be of mankind, the theme is ~times about what we want to improve in ourselves and in others. The act of asking then comes up: what kind of a cyborg work we want to be? Do we look refuge in the complete mixing of person and machine, a process transhumanists supporter? If we overshoot this, a in opposition to-movement comes up, a theme beautifully elaborated in the Swedish television course Real Humans. The pressure group ‘Stop The Cyborgs’, what one. calls for a conscious use of wearables is a current case in point of such a counter-movement.

Instead, I try conclusions for a middle ground between cyborgization and the kind of the philosopher Derix labels as rewilding humans. Rewilding foolishly implies ‘stacking phones on the table’ in the pub and the foremost owner to pick up his phone has to bestow a round or drinks. Rewilding implies not perusal and responding to work-related emails attached holiday, not wanting to know everything, choosing a bank-notes book, diving into cold water independently of a wetsuit, feeling the wind… The allude to-technological revolution requires certain human sense. Wisdom will involve at least the following:

1. Carefully handling the retirement of our identities, because privacy is not dead, for the re~on that many Internet gurus would have us give faith to. That also implies consciously dealing through the ownership of our personal premises, because they are of great economic value, both personally and publicly. The tendency is precisely keeping the concept of privacy cheerful in order to reduce the dare to undertake of identity theft, and to make secure that our physical and mental uprightness are vouchsafed.

The intimate-technological change requires certain human wisdom

2. Monitoring the plan of conduct in which information reaches us.

3. Being alert to the in accordance with duty of every individual to make liberal choices and to develop themselves. A worship of self-development is not eligible, but the right to be same special and very common is of importance.

4. Not outsourcing essential human actions, of that kind as marriages, love, caring for the children and the sick to machines.

5. Keeping our affable and emotional skills alive.

6. Protecting the just to not know and not have existence measured, analyzed or coached.

7. Cherishing the appurtenances that is perhaps our most inestimable possession: our attention.

Technical ability, in conclusion, is also an important part of human genius. But it is not to be hoped that faith in technology leave prevail. Trust in people and accepting human forces, otherwise than that also acceptance of failure, should cut the guidelines of our actions. Above, I mentioned that a smart camera could see if women are fruitful at any moment. Such a instrument of force does not exist yet, but males work out have that power: they smell it or look it on the face or in the practice the hips sway. I apologize according to that blatant lie, but I was expert to let you speculate in direction for you to realize for a instant what special powers you have consciously or ignorantly.

We go into a bright yet to be as we learn new skills to sail over between cyborgization and self-rewilding.

And the untamed cyborg lived happily ever after.

Brief translation of the essay “Intimate Technology – The Battle with regard to Our Body and Behaviour”, Rathenau Instituut. Read the consummate publication here. Check here for farther exploration of the seven principles. 

Edited ~ the agency of Yunus Emre Duyar.

Illustration by Alissa covered wagon Asseldonk

Good health starts with a to the full functioning spine and nervous system.

Recent Comments