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McLuhan, the Cyborg, and the Future

Assignment #3, Understanding McLuhan

Stephanie Viggiano

on 8 December 2012

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Transcript of McLuhan, the Cyborg, and the Future

0 + - = 9 8 7 1 2 3 4 5 6 c p. 45-46 "The Gadget Lover",
Understanding Media "Any invention or technology is an extension or self-amputation of our physical bodies, and such extension also demands new ratios or new equilibriums among the other organs and extensions of the body." "Physiologically, man in the normal use of technology (or his variously extended body) is perpetually modified by it and in turn finds ever new ways of modifying his technology. Man becomes, as it were, the sex organs of the machine world, as the bee of the plant world, enabling it to fecundate and to evolve ever new forms. The machine world reciprocates man's love by wealth. One of the merits of motivation research has been the revelation of man's sex relation to the motorcar." McLuhan's Extensions Paul Levinson on the future Is McLuhan right? "The principle of numbness comes into play with electric technology, as with any other. We have to numb our central nervous system when it is extended or exposed, or we will die. Thus the age of anxiety and of electric media is also the age of the unconsciousness and of apathy. But it is strikingly the age of consciousness of the unconscious, in addition. With our central nervous system strategically numbed, the tasks of consciousness awareness and order are transferred to the physical life of man, so that for the first time he has become aware of technology as an extension of his physical body,"

-- p. 47 "The Gadget Lover",
Understanding Media Why this desk? I chose this specific outline because I think
it's a great combination of old and new
mediums. Pen/paper serve as reminders of
analog media, while simultaneously
including digital media. Much like what
my desk looks like today. Bibliography Cherney, James L. “Deaf Culture and the Cochlear Implant Debate: Cyborg Politics and the Identity of People with Disabilities.” Argumentation and Advocacy, # 36, pp. 22-34, Summer 1999.

Coupland, Douglas. Marshall McLuhan: You Know Nothing of My Work! Atlas & Company: New York, NY, 2010.

Galbraith, David. “16 Genuine Cyborg Technologies.” OObject.com. Link: http://www.oobject.com/category/16-genuine-cyborg-technologies/.

Levinson, Paul. The Pixel Eye. Tor Books: New York, NY, 2003.

MarkMolaro (YouTube user). “Media professor/expert Paul Levinson on new media influence.” [Video], uploaded November 21, 2007. Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aqZNGYit3kY.

McLuhan, Marshall. Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man. The MIT Press: Cambridge, MA, 1964.

Muri, Allison. “Enlightenment Cybernetics: Communications and Control in the Man-Machine.” The Eighteenth Century, vol. 49 no. 2, Texas Tech University Press, 2008.

Nestruck, J. Kelly. “So, an artist, a cyborg academic and a philosopher get into a hot tub.” National Post, 12 August 2003.

Oxford Dictionary, “cyborg”, Oxford University Press, Oxford, UK.
Schechter, Bruce. “Real-Life Cyborg Challenges Reality With Technology” The New York Times. 25 September 2001.

Sewell, Elizabeth. “McLuhan and His Commentators.” The Massachusetts Review, Inc., Vol. 9, No. 2, pp. 396-398, Spring 1968.

Williams, David. “The Politics of Cyborg Communications: Harold Innis, Marshall McLuhan, and The English Patient.” Canadian Literature #156, Spring 1998.

Zylinska, Joanna. “Extending McLuhan into the New Media Age: An Introduction” The Cyborg Experiments: The Extensions of the Body in the Media Age. Continuum: New York, NY, 2002. McLuhan, the Cyborg, and the Future Stephanie Viggiano "Ultimately what I think will happen will be...we'll have the
option to have a little implant
(you're not going to be obligated). We won't have to worry about losing our cellphones...or losing this device. We
can see, talk, and everything, but be instantly connected.
Obviously there are science fictional cyborg nightmares that could come out of this, but I'm not worried about that. It's
more access to information. For me the decisive point is that damage is done when we have too little information." from YouTube video of Mark Molaro's series, The Alcove What is a cyborg? You may think of this... or this... Which is sort of accurate.
But is actually something like this... Some Examples of Cyborgs in Culture If you have time check out this TED Talk by Amber Case, entitled "We Are All Cyborgs Now" http://www.ted.com/talks/amber_case_we_are_all_cyborgs_now.html CYBORG

a fictional or hypothetical person whose physical abilities are extended beyond normal human limitations by mechanical elements built into the body. Hel in "Metropolis",
Inspector Gadget,
and Bane from "Batman" Examples of Cyborg Technology Today Contact Lenses Prosthetic Cochlear Implant Cyborg Controversy Cochlear Implants are one of the most hotly contested cyborg technologies available today. Controversy lies when parents have the opportunity to choose whether or not their children should have the operation before their child has the cognitive ability to make that decision. Very similar to Jurgen Habermas's view on the grown and the made, it is definitely a moral dilemma as to whose decision it should be. Should a child grow up with hearing or could they thrive in the very active and strong Deaf culture? The best time to get the implant is when the child is young. Recovery and hearing capability is way higher when the surgery is done earlier. It can be done later in life, but there may be further complications and longer time to get used to hearing whenever the operation is done late. Implications of Future Implant So, what's in store for the future? So... In light of everything that I’ve presented here, I feel that we’re headed toward being more “one” with our technology, in body and in function. Even though we don’t have implants yet, we’re starting to find ways to even strap technology to ourselves like sport straps for iPods and even clothes that have solar chargers embedded within the pockets of jackets, etc. While an actual implant may be far off, I think medical technology is certainly getting a lot of traction and we are ever so quickly becoming attached to social media.

I'd like to continue postulating about the implications of this future implant. PSYCHIC As a quite concrete reversal, the implant would not be an extension of man, but there wouldn't be an extension at all, but rather a reach inside ourselves that would be stronger than what we're experiencing now with our technology. In today's society, I think we would feel a bit violated especially since we're still struggling with the technology that we use today. I don't doubt that once we're very comfortable with our media today that an implant won't be so scary. SOCIAL POLITICAL ECONOMIC "Mass transportation is doomed to failure in North America because a person's car is the only place where he can be alone and think." - MM.
I can definitely agree with Marshall's words here. I think that if we are all implanted with a device, I'm not sure if we'll technically ever BE alone. I'm sure there will be a 'silence', 'mute' or 'vacation' switch on that implant, but I think socially we won't necessarily have to be together to enjoy each other. Similarly, I'm sure there will be implant activities and implant-less activities in which everyone will partake. To bring some more MM in, these implants would ONLY be in existence because society pressures itself to innovate (UM 46). Imagine voting inside your head! Sending your vote directly to the election officials. In this sense, I think that because the concrete medium of paper ballots or even the makeshift-looking voting machines we're used to today are far extensions of us. I believe we will feel incredibly violated if there was ever election fraud through use of our own implants as voting devices.
Both politically and economically, I think that there will be ways where we will be bombarded with advertisements and ways for political rhetoric to seep through our media channels, just as it does now. I can only imagine that the implant will provide yet another medium for advertisements to reach us, like how ads are reaching various types of mediums today. If we are able to travel with our music, pictures, and videos literally WITHIN us, then there will be a lot of new ways in which media and entertainment law will be enforced. I don't think the economy will be in any danger because of the nature of this new medium. To quote MM, the implant will have a "global consciousness" effect. McLuhan, the Cyborg, and the Future Stephanie Viggiano In today's society, I believe we really do need to pay attention to how much we put out there cerebral-ly through social media. What we put out there deeply affects us.

But what if the technology that causes us numbness and anxiety will eventually reside within us? What will happen then?
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