Snapshot of Technological Amputation of the Eye

by phil on Friday Feb 20, 2004 12:27 PM
McLuhan, Singularity

This JPEG captures and symbolizes how integrated we are with the machine. In the image, a throng of Japanese women are holding up picture-phones to the sky, digitizing a campaign speech.

This is the essence of technological amputation. Our eyes, which I expect were genetically 20/20 for most homo sapiens, is seen simultaneously extended and amputed in that picture. In each woman's palm is both a screen and a third eye. It's as if the bundle of nerves attached to their biological corneas is stretched a hundred times in length, tunneling through their arms and terminating in their Nokia 3600s. Even bits of their brains are extended into their picture-phones as memories of the event are stored for future retrieval.

Technological amputation is not a new phenomena, as we use satellite TV as a proxy for our ears, eyes, and mind. But seeing such a concentration of oridnary people intersperse a computerized device between them and an open-air event demonstrates human's broad, natural symbiosis with the machine.

Look at that picture again. What is the ratio of artifical to organic devices? They wear clothes, many of them wear contact lenses, and they sport hair styles created in shops that rely on electricity. Then factor in the content of their brains, which are largely instructed through technology transfer--reading books, watching TV, and surfing the Net. Don't forget the food that they eat: so much food is processed by chemicals and artifical selection that the sale of "organic foods" is now a novelty.

Humans have such a willingness to substitute silicon, metal, and plastic contraptions in place of their existing organic capacities. Our integration and co-dependence with the machine is the norm, not the exception. You get the picture, right?

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