INTELLIGENCE AND SPECULATIVE PROSTHETICS: FROM TECHNOANIMISM TO TECHNOFTISHISM THE CREATIVE POWER OF NON-HUMAN AGENCIES
Student/s: Artemis Kyriakou
Date: February 28, 2019
What is intelligence? Is man intelligent? Are ants and apes intelligent? Could their intelligence be comparable to that of man? And then, what about the algorithm that picks our preferences on Google and Amazon and tells us what to buy? Is this intelligent or not? Are we more intelligent than the evolutionary process that created us? Can an intelligence create another intelligence more intelligent than itself? Intelligence is obviously difficult to define and the mistake humans made for long, was to believe that they were on the pinnacle of the evolutionary pyramid. But things have changed. And they will keep changing in an exponential pace since our world undergoes a constant evolution in all the aspects. There is one thing certain, and that is that Intelligence is not an exclusively human asset. Will the artificial intelligence come to exceed that of its creator? Who will have the power of intelligence after all? Over six decades, we've set off technological revolutions that ultimately led to some of today's most advanced technologies. It seems clear that we humans are on a path to a more symbiotic union with the non-human intelligence produced. What's drawing us forward is the temptation of achieving advantageous enhancements to our inborn abilities, and the promise of improvements to the human condition. But as we stride into a future that will give our machines unprecedented roles in virtually every aspect of our lives, we humans, will need to wrangle some tough questions about the meaning of personal agency and autonomy, privacy and identity, authenticity and responsibility. Questions about who we are and what we want to be. Before the next century is over, human beings will no longer be the most intelligent or capable type of entity on the planet. Actually, let me take that back. The truth of that last statement depends on how we define human. The primary political and philosophical issue of the next century will be the definition of who we are. What we think we know about who we are, what we are, and even where we are. Are we humans? How much humans are we going to be in the future to come? This research thesis attends to the notion of prostheticization as a contemporary condition of post-industrial human subjectivity. Today, human experience is shaped by an increasing interactivity with various technologies, which act as prostheses, supplementing our natural abilities but also fundamentally changing the way we function. This prosthetic transference involves a simultaneous extension and replacement, and a reciprocal re-construction of the human being and of technology - processes complicated by the dematerialization of technology in this current technological age. The pace of change is accelerating and has been since the inception of invention. Humanity, being in a constant struggle to understand its biological capacities, hacks the human body and blurs the boundaries between the human and the inhuman, in an attempt to transfer them upgraded onto its environment. Through the power of technology, we humans are radically reshaped. Our environment is reshaped undergoing ceaseless design. We literally live inside design, while being redesigned to be agile. Architecture is becoming agile. We upgrade ourselves in an upgraded environment, to surmount evolution. Our cars are our feet, our calculators are our minds, and Google is our memory. Our lives are only partly biological, with no clear split between the organic and the technological, the carbon and the silicon. Like any other species, we are the product of millions of years of evolution. Now we’re taking matters into our own hands. We may not know yet where we’re going, but we’ve already left where we’ve been… Our time alone is nearing its end...