Thursday, February 7, 2008

reproductive compulsions

Bush's "As We May Think" made me think a little more on the idea that the object of computers is to somehow duplicate the processes of the human brain. Each improvement made to machines is made on a trajectory that will liken it more and more to the mental functioning of the mind. The machine increasingly becomes more man than machine, follows on an almost asymptotic path to human-ness (and then it will be one of Haraway's cyborgs?). Bush says "it should be possible to beat the mind decisively." Shouldn't we be scared? Why would we create something that could potentially beat us? We seem to be the engineers of what could be our conquerors, our successors. I thought maybe the human desire to create larger-than-life machines, machines better at doing things than us could be somehow tied to man's anxiety over his humanity and his mortality, his knowledge of his inadequacy, his instinctive grasp of survival of the fittest. Thus with his inadequacy in mind man continues with this current obsession of producing better, cooler, sleeker laptops, iPhones, machines; an obsession that is one articulation of the reproductive compulsion to produce super-offspring, giving birth to mechanical progeny better equipped and of a better species to survive natural selection than us.

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