Has the development of modern computing technology given rise to a post-human society?
A new, beautiful age for humanity is coming. Those who deny such benefits have the freedom to do so, for all have the right to their own culture and belief system. However, those who accept it will become equal to, or perhaps stronger than the fictional Gods of ancient human myth. Humanity is part of nature. Humanity makes technology. Therefore, technology is part of nature too!
Homo sapiens throughout the last century have come to conclusions for being an amazing evolution, until not long ago there isn’t much gossip about the future projections of humankind. Charles Darwin’s law of evolution turns out to be dawdling and the heirs for such advanced species are put to question. Nonetheless, in the past 20 years the perspective started to shift as numerous technological advancements took place.
The augmentations that are occurring now have the capability to invert human evolution from what it’s depending on, the ability of natural selection to an artificial evolution where cognisant decisions and methodological designs will matter more. This shift is setting the direction not just for humans but for other species, a profound transformation of society as whole thus receiving a melodramatic name “the post-human”.
Today, in the 21st century there is a tendency to associate natural with human and artificial with inhuman. According to Pepperell (2005) post humanism is not a progress of society but rather a cultural movement in which the purity of human nature welcomes new ways or forms of evolution. The human nature will refuse to differentiate from that of species and machines which I believe in today’s era is happening. Despite of continual doubts created among society as to whether we are going towards a post human society or are we post-human? Since young, we watched science fiction films such as terminator, matrix and until today watching seasons like black mirror and movies like Ex machina designed our thought process in a way that post humanism is not something we are really worried about.
Post humanism is diligently linked with postmodernism which literally means “a time in which humans are no longer the most important thing in universe” (Gane 2006). Linking this scenario to our society, animals and man are observed as equal which eventually gave rise to the animal rights movement. On the other hand, modern computing leads to enhancements and augmentation of human beings by various ways of engineering in the name of Charles Darwin. McLuhan (1997) proposes that we humans are now interwoven with technology and the new media are not bridges between human and nature rather part of nature.
Another interesting example was explained by Barr, Marsen and Noble (2005) that computer games are now challenging the traditional narrative form by increasing the user participation. One of the example used was widely played game Grand Theft Auto (GTA) which allows the user to enjoy the game only if he/she follows the system. In the newer versions of the game, players invest real world money to purchase house, cars and build their own personality. Computer games are becoming immersive and are engaging the user senses whereby they cannot differentiate between the gaming world and real world. Some players imagine and build their character in a way which they wish to be in real world and would rather stay in that pipe dream thus investing real money isn’t a topic they would like to touch.
On the other hand, the medicinal side of our society is utilising modern computing on a very large scale and coming up with technologies which is catching people attention and giving rise to hundreds of questions. According to Frances Fukuyama (2002) who was appointed by George Bush in Bioethics council states that post humanism changes our human nature, ethics and moral values both as threat and resolution. Fukuyama suggested that the technological advancements scope should be authorised and controlled as this will protect us from post-human future. By ‘post-human’ Fukuyama meant those people who had their genetic altered and are different from those have not been genetically re-engineered.
Since there are two ways to approach post humanism, one which accepts the changes in our society and the other which tries to limit these developments. I will therefore distress with Fukuyama on regulating the technological advancements. Due to modern computing and utilising trillions GB of data produced we come up with solutions which we never thought of. For example, virtual reality is being used to treat various traumas whether it’s physical or emotional. Bainbridge (2003) calls it displacement therapy where the patient is analysed by the system and an environment is created for him/her. The user can then stay in that world and perform actions to overcome their weaknesses.
To further talk over why the development of modern computing is taking us towards post human society, Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is a theory in psychology which comprises five-tire model. Maslow (1997) proposes, each individual needs to satisfy the lower needs in hierarchy before he levels up. The hierarchy is divided into three main sections which are Basic needs (food, water and rest) Phycological needs (feelings and relationships) and self-fulfilment needs (self-actualization).
The bottom needs in Maslow’s hierarchy are the basic needs that we humans try to fulfil to satisfy our basic needs. It’s the reason why we work at a place where we have issues with our senior level workers just because we need money to take care of our basic and phycological needs. In the process of fulfilling all the requirements we neglect the self-fulfilment needs which stops us from reaching our full potential. However, in a post human world where technology is taking care of our basic and phycological needs, we get more to socialise, building up your esteem and pursuing your dreams.
To conclude, humans have always been changing since the beginning of time and always survived in the environment at the time they were living in by developing what was necessary. Technology has always been part of the society and the development of modern computing will keep on escalating day by day. Researchers will consciously come up with solutions that the society will be shocked once they hear it but will eventually forget and move on with their lives in which ever world they are living in.
“We are not moving towards a post-human society, we are living in one.”