The Things Can Be Otherwise lectures have benefited me greatly by helping me to grasps a better understanding of philosophy. During the lectures we were introduced to a diverse range of theories by philosophers such as Plato, Nietzsche, Donna Haraway and many others. In Plato’s theory of knowledge he talks about knowledge relating to what is and ignorance relating to what is not. Between these two lies opinion. Through out these lectures I have read through many theories from many philosophers who discuss things such as technology and cyborgs. Reading through these and listening to what others around me made me realise that these kind of philosophies are neither right or wrong. They are either one but all this depends on the opinion of the reader. One of the readings in particular that I found very interesting and help mixed options was written in 1960 by Manfred E. Clynes and Nathan S. Klines.
The article ‘Cyborgs ad Space’ really opened my eyes to something not many people have realised or just refuse to come to terms with. In this article Clynes and Klines discuss how by creating machines that are able to aid us and help us with simple tasks we will be able to better our quality of life. They believe that using a machine will leave man free to be able to explore, create and learn. They name this Cyborg. I agree with this as technology is something that we use everyday to help us with the simplest tasks. Even communication. Being able to just pick up a phone and let someone know where we are, what we are doing in a matter of minutes saves us a lot of time. If these types of technology were not to exists we could be spend a lot of hours finishing tasks that could take a machine an hour. Whilst a machine is doing a job for me like washing my clothes I am able to concerntrate on my art work or I am able to sit down and read. This is benefitting me as I would have to spend a few hours washing my clothes in a well or a lake if technology ceased to exist. Using technology is permitting me more time to be creative. Also having technology to communicate leave us open to better business opportunities not just with people and businesses on the other side of the country but people working for businesses all around the world. Being able to just pick up a phone a call someone across the globe makes it a lot easier for us all to be connected for personal and business purposes. Clynes and Klines also believe that one day we will be able to use technology to help us adapt to and live in different environments such as space. By using technology we were also able to send people to space to explore and see what was beyond our atmosphere.
‘Human life is throughly mediated by technology. It is hard to imagine a life that didn’t involve at least some tools, devices, or implements. Today, it is harder to imagine a life without complex technological systems of energy, transportation, waste management and production. Our world is largely a constructed environment; our technologies and technological systems form the background, context, and medium for lives. We rely on what we make in order to survive, to thrive, and to live together in societies. Sometimes the things we make improve out lives; sometimes they make our lives worse.’
Above is a reference from David M. Kaplan’ book called ‘Readings of the Philosophy of Technology’. I agree with what Kaplan says above because he gives a very good point on how our world is a ‘largely constructed enviroment’. The is a very correct statement as the environment that we live in revolves around and includes technology in every way. And this is all to improve our quality of life. A lot of us are able to live longer using technology. For example, some one who is in need of a heart transplant. We use technology to preform the heart surgery needed which is the safest way for the patients. We also use technology to store the organ to keep it fresh and usable for someone who is in need of it. Doing this is giving someone a second chance at life therefore bettering our quality of life.
There are very mixed opinions on wether or not we could live without technology. And personally I believe that we not only couldn’t but we shouldn’t. Many people will say that using technology is slowly brain washing us and making us forget the ways we used to live without it. But I have never lived a life without technology and seeing all the good we can do with it I believe overrules all the bad things we use it for. If technology ceased to exist we would not be able to make the medicines we make today to cure the diseases and infections that affect people around the world. Using technology in this way is not only benefitting our health but also our quality of life.
One of the benefits I have had by being involved with the Things Can Be Otherwise lectures is I feel as if my mind has open up to the world around me. I feel like I have a better understand on technology and the different ways we use it to benefit us. I’ve also learnt a lot from reading through the different theories about technology.
Clynes, M. and Klines, N. (1960). Cyborgs and Spaces. Astronautics, [online] pp.26-27, 74-76. Available at: http://www.guicolandia.net/files/expansao/Cyborgs_Space.pdf [Accessed 5 May 2017].
Dictionary.com. (2017). The Definition of Cyborg. [online] Available at: http://www.dictionary.com/browse/cyborg [Accessed 5 May 2017].
Kaplan, D. (2004). Readings in the Philosophy of Technology. 1st ed. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, pp.xiii-xvi, 1-5, 89-93.
Martin, G. (2014). Don’t Worry, We’re Already Cyborgs. [online] Forbes.com. Available at: https://www.forbes.com/sites/oreillymedia/2014/02/19/i-cyborg/#a727992f7212 [Accessed 15 May 2017].