In this week’s seminar, I will present the chapter Cybernetics by N. Katherine Hayles. I will pay special attention to the how cybernetics has reconfigured boundaries.
As Hayles sums up, first order cybernetics no longer separated machines from biological organisms (nature-technology boundary), second order cybernetics considered the observer to be part of the system too (object-subject boundary), and third order cybernetics considered the observer and the system within a complex, networked, adaptive and co-evolving environment through which information and data are pervasively flowing (individual-network boundary).
In the second part of my presentation, I want to elaborate and extend on some of the works that Hayles refers to, including Latour’s actor-network theory. I would like to set up our discussion to talk about how the destruction / construction of boundaries allows us to talk about what things do. More specifically, how things have politics, moralise and shape our relations to the world.
Questions that I would like to explore include:
– How do we relate to technologies? What happens when technologies try to understand us as a system?
Where normally, we might expect technology to function for us, what happens if these roles are swopped? The work of Rafael-Lorenzo Hemmer takes personal data from the human body (fingerprints, heartbeats), enlarges and displays it – the way we might do with things, or technologies, in order to understand them better.
Please have a look at the two of his Pulse works, the Pulse Room and the Pulse Index, as well as the video I posted accompanying my blog post from week 3.
Will we get to a point where technologies understand us better than we understand ourselves? Are we already there? What do you think?
– How do technologies moralise? And, coming back again to our previous discussions: if boundaries get blurry, who is to be held accountable?