File spoon-archives/lyotard.archive/lyotard_2001/lyotard.0112, message 90

Date: Fri, 14 Dec 2001 17:11:28 +1000
Subject: Re: cyborg 3 - balance and conclusions


Once again, I'm sympathetic to most of the argument, and agree destructive
technology is likely to be used just because it "its there".

But maybe there's hope.

Half a century after the first two cities were destroyed, mankind still
hasn't repeated that behavior, although hdyrogen bombs and multiple warheads
would probably destroy all major cities in any one of  the largest
nation-states if a dozen or so missiles were launched at the same time.



Steve wrote:

> All

> I began writing the cyborg notes to outline some of the diverse
> varieties of the cyborgian and related positions, Some good, some
> amusing. My intention at this stage was to outline a quasi-scientific
> and quasi-philosophical response to the mess of impossible and
> contradictory definitions. However I realised as I wrote this that I was
> interested not in conclsions but in drawing out the problematic roots of
> the issues, in an attempt to place a baseline behind the use of the term
> CYBORG which we've been using quite a lot recently. Indirectly,
> answering, i hope, my distrust of the cyber-feminist and cyber-citizin
> positions...
> The proponents of the cyborg and the associated bioelectronic
> technologies are correct in suggesting that it enables interesting
> benefits for humans, plants and animals. Those who argue for human
> obsolescence as a benefit should be discounted and hopefully funding
> removed given that you shouldn't finance the terminally stupid.
> Skepticism towards the cyborg/bioelectronics areas arises out of the low
> levels of success achieved by the proponants of the technology which
> confirms commonly held attitudes toward computers and
> medical/reproductive procedures that are not normally understood but
> recognised as simply not working well. Those in favour of these
> developments are simply incorrect to argue that regulation and oversight
> will prevent research and scientific progress in the relevant computing,
> cyborg and bio-technical disciplines. Once a technology is out there,
> you cannot make it disappear. There have rarely been technologies that
> the human race has abandoned, even the weapons of mass destruction with
> the power to wipe out all human life on Earth. While ethicists and
> scientists have discussed the possibility of a ban on genetics research
> for example they knew it was not really feasible. Technology is not
> nuetral. There are no laws of technological determinism, as if breeding
> to the inner logic of development. It develops and florishes in response
> to social, economic and political requirements. The case of cybernetics
> is examplary in this case after the utopian beginnings when it attempted
> to claim an all inclusive relationship to the human universe, and
> sometimes beyond. Cybernetics became deeply reductionist reducing
> processes and complex objectives to black boxes and dynamic control
> systems. Not simply in the natural sciences, social sciences but also
> deep into the mind, a kind of neo-behaviourism of the mind.
> Cyborg/bioelectronic technologies cannot be wished away. Humnan beings
> rarely give up the opportunity to change, improve themselves from social
> activities like excessive exercise to amend the body, insertion of
> silicon implants, drugs to supposedly increase intelligence and so on.
> If human beings are given the possibility to use cyborg and
> bio-electronics within their bodies to achieve similar ends. It is
> certain that humans will use them to do so in spite of any risks. The
> ethical issue is not related to this but to the use of resources to
> further the G20s adventures in mind/body reconstruction whilst millions
> die of starvation as a result of the neo-colonialism that supports it.
> Nonetheless a new bioethics/philosophical perspective seems necessary.
> We cannot be aware of the dangers to the bodies of the idiots (such as
> Stelarc) who are early adopters of these technologies. Scientists and
> technologists should be forced to adopt ethical protocols on acceptable
> research on living subjects - for example - 'no experiments on anything
> but humans' is an essential condition for a bio-ethical position, which
> is an extention of the protocols adopted by genetic engineers in the
> regards
> sdv


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