Technology is a meta-production

October 1, 2014


Technology is a meta-production -> the production of things that produce things.

I started thinking about humanity as a technological production of nature. An apparatus made to produce other things. Then, if you continue that thought you quickly end up questioning if not all life is technology. Wich actually puts more sense into the first part of the text where I was a but lost. Come to think of it evolution is nothing more than an annual upgrade iteration where the body upgrades itself to compensate for its relative vulnerability ––> true evolutionary fitness work-out. Continuing down that road you get to the point where THINGS made by humans start producing THINGS. Can the original thing – a can-making machine – be considered a living beeing? If technology is an extension of the human and its natural way of utilizing non-living matter to its advance of supporting life, how is that different from what nature does with mixing together non-living matter to create life. How is an electric pulse different from a heartbeat?

Technology is the great aid to action…

In the opening scenes of 2001: A space odyssey a pre-historic man-ape encouters a black box in the desert which in some way encourages the ape to take up a bone to fight off a stronger ape-tribe. That bone multiplies the apes possibilities to action. It facilitates, requires and generates the apes intellegence, which in turn multiplies its possibilites to even further action. And further intellegence -> more action -> more intellegence -> more action… and so on. As this particular movie goes, we are made to believe that bone, and in turn that black monolithic box, is the first source of human intellegence and dominance of planet earth.

Makes you wonder where the computer, the internet and other contemporary technology will take us…

Birkir Ingibjartsson

2 Responses to “Technology is a meta-production”

  1. wimwiklund Says:

    Really interesting post. I like how you are equating nature, human beings and inventions as equally potent generators of new matter and ideas. Humans have for a long time had a self-distributed special position in this system due to our ability to feel emotions, but maybe the ability to feel is not what gives us our rights. Maybe all that is, is alive and should be treated as if it could be hurt. After all there are human beings without emotions and they have the same rights as us. How do you feel about our ability to feel? Does give us a special position in this context?

  2. danvansch Says:

    Humans are an impatient species. We see natural evolution as a slow and arduous process so we rely on technology to speed it up. Our lives are relatively short so we want to advance as much as possible in order to reap the benefits. It is this time limit that drives generations to take what’s available and push it further and further. It’s rare for a human to say “ok! That’s good enough, we will let the next generation finish it off,” because we want to experience the result and satisfaction of our completed work.

    Furthermore it’s not always an individual endeavor, in many cases we work collectively as a single organism feeding off each other’s achievements to progress. Thus even if your piece of technology relies on the advancement of another in order to progress, we still live in hope because we have seen how quickly things can progress. We know any tiny advance (especially in computing) can mean a huge leap forward in many different fields.

    Your closing statement, “Makes you wonder where the computer, the Internet and other contemporary technology will take us…(?)” prompted me to think about the work of neuroscientist Sebastian Seung. He and his colleagues are working on a new model of understanding the brain and how it functions. What’s interesting about their work is that they are working in a field where the technology they have available, isn’t advanced enough to allow them to map the human brain to the level of detail they require. Consequently, they work at a small scale with mouse brains and attempt to decipher the connections between neurons at a more feasible level.(1) The point being that, work never stops. Humans find work to do in the interim in the hope that it will help speed up the process when the equipment they need finally arrives.

    In this case, what contemporary technology is allowing us to do is to understand the infinitely complex pile of mush that lies between our ears. The human mind is so complicated that we cannot begin to unravel it using our own thoughts alone. It’s ironic that the very thing we are given to think with, cant be thought about. However it could potentially provide us the ability to manufacture something that can.

    (1) “Sebastian Seung: I am my connectome”, Accessed 9 Oct, 2014.

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