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Downside to Clark's envisioning of the future

Hilary_Brashear's picture

An idea that Clark did not address in his discussion was the access to this new technology. I agree with Clark that humans are “primed” to use tools or technology, especially if we think of tools in a broader sense than just electronics; however I am not sure if that predisposition will translate into the kind of future he described in his hypothetical diary. He implies that our integration with machines is a natural process but to me it seems that if new technologies are developed that integrate body with tools those with more money, power, and connections will have access to these new technologies. Isn’t it possible that these new technologies could create a further divide between haves and have nots? Not only could these potential new technologies be expensive to obtain, even the development of them would only be available to those countries with the time, money, and resources to invest in these new technologies.  Clark sticks mostly to science in his article but I think the social setting in which these new adaptations or developments of human’s takes place is something that cannot be ignored.  The downside to the kind of future that Clark described is that maybe the integration with machines is not something that will benefit all the humanity but will benefit only a certain strata of people. At worst it could be used as a justification of power and oppression, creating a new hierarchy: those sophisticated individuals who are integrated with their technology have the power and those individuals who are still merely “skin bags” become the oppressed.



merlin's picture

I am posting this as a

I am posting this as a comment on a previous post because there is something wrong with my account..


 Reading Clark, I realized that "scaffolding" was not a new term for me. I knew that I'd seen it used before elsewhere. Then I remembered, it is sometimes used in Psychology (particularly in developmental psychology) to describe how parents teach their children. They provide constructive assistance to the child through different stages of development. The help is specifically tailored to the capabilities and developmental stage of the child. Scaffolding is important because it makes it easier for the learner to complete the task, thus having a more enriching experience from partaking in the activity. I think that technology can serve a purpose functionally equivalent to that of the parent in parent-child scaffolding. Technology enables the user to expand his or her abilities outside of that which he or she would be capable otherwise.This provides an improved experienced that was supplemented with the aid of an extension of the person's own abilities. Scaffolding is a parenting technique that was noticed and described by Vygotsky. Explained a Zone of Proximal Development, in which is the difference between what a child is capable of under her own capacities compared to what she is capable of with the aid of scaffolding through parental guidance. I think there should be a similar term in the Cyborg extension of human capabilities. Scaffolding helps the individual not only to have a heightened experience with the use of technology, it helps the person just as scaffolding helps the child – it can facilitate learning. In this way, technology seems to be a more advanced form of aid which we are already primed for from childhood with the interactions brought about with our parents. To me, this seems to be a good example which helps validate Clark's use of scaffolding. It is an extension of ourselves, an extension of our abilities. It makes us into infinitely powerful learners and experiencers of the world.

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