Friday, July 6, 2012

We are Borg.

I love TEDtalks. My favorite TEDtalk is this one, by Amber Case. I think she, in basic understandable terms that I would never be able to organize myself into, explains the concept of cyborg anthropology and how and why I think humans and technology are so freaking fascinating.

My brain is doing a lot of really fast leaping around lately - I did some training for work on different learning styles and designing classes in such a way that we can appeal to all of them, and it was really interesting to me because I live in this constant state of being really astounded that Stuff Is.

See, I pay attention to a lot of science, but I'm not a scientist. I'm a writer, and an English major, and what I see, hear, think and feel about factual information isn't concrete and data-driven but rather... metaphorical. Abstracted. I assimilate the data to the extent that I am able without a scientific background/really 100% understanding it, and then my brain grabs up the new baby BorgFact and runs, gleefully screaming, to the land of unicorns and dancing iced sugar cookies. "Look what just arrived! Wouldn't it look WONDERFUL with some glitter glue dabbed on all the edges?! Then EVERYONE will love it!"

The unicorns are constantly trying to remind me that not everyone shares my enthusiasm for glitter glue, just like not everyone has dancing iced sugar cookies around the peripheries of their brain. I ignore them. Unicorns don't exist.

So the thing about science and technology for me is that really, at the end of the day, I'm just astonished that things work. I mean, water molecules are bent at right(ish) angles, in such a way that gives water the ability to link up and basically enable all life to have ever even gotten started. What if they had not done that?! It is surely no skin off the universe's nose if life doesn't exist.

So anyways, back to the topic at hand, which is the fact that I don't think anyone - except apparently Amber Case - is thinking about technology the right way. Just because we're not physically grafted to our devices doesn't mean that we're not assimilating them just like the Borg. Anyone who thinks humans and modern technology are separate need only look at the difference between this upcoming generation and the one before them. Humans in the developed world are growing up surrounded by all of these new ways of interfacing with the environment and their own brains. When my mother calls me and asks me how to fix her computer, I'm forced to explain things to such a degree that I'm annoyed. It is not her fault. She doesn't interface like I do; she can't make the intuitive leaps I can, doesn't have the little minute steps totally ingrained and instinctive like I do. I AM a cyborg, because technology has facilitated these connections that would not otherwise exist. I may not literally have robotic parts, but the fact is that technology informs fundamental brain processes for me.

The whole point of this point is that Amber Case is really cool, and you should watch her TEDtalk. Here's the link to it again.

Edit: This post clearly needs a picture. Here is one of the internet.
The Whole Internet

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