The Techno-Human Condition

The Techno-Human Condition

by Braden R. Allenby, Daniel Sarewitz
     
 

ISBN-10: 0262015692

ISBN-13: 9780262015691

Pub. Date: 01/29/2010

Publisher: MIT Press

In this latest version of humanity, we are equipped with a fully re-engineered immune system; the latest set of cultural assumptions about gender, ethnicity, and sexuality; and a suite of customized enhancements, including artificial joints, neurochemical mood modulators, and performance-boosting hormones. In The Techno-Human Condition, Braden Allenby and

Overview

In this latest version of humanity, we are equipped with a fully re-engineered immune system; the latest set of cultural assumptions about gender, ethnicity, and sexuality; and a suite of customized enhancements, including artificial joints, neurochemical mood modulators, and performance-boosting hormones. In The Techno-Human Condition, Braden Allenby and Daniel Sarewitz explore what it means to be human in an era of incomprehensible technological complexity and change. They argue that if we are to have any prospect of managing that complexity, we will need to escape the shackles of current assumptions about rationality, progress, and certainty, even as we maintain a commitment to fundamental human values.

Humans have been co-evolving with their technologies since the dawn of prehistory, when tool making and meat eating co-evolved with brain development and social complexity. What is different now is that we have moved beyond external technological interventions to transform ourselves from the inside out—even as we also remake the Earth system itself. Coping with this new reality, say Allenby and Sarewitz, means liberating ourselves from such categories as Œhuman,Œ Œtechnological,Œ and ŒnaturalŒ to embrace a new techno-human relationship. Describing the- terms of this relationship, and exploring sociotechnical systems ranging from railroads to modern military technology, Allenby and Sarewitz ultimately locate individual authenticity in the quest for a new humility in the face of the rapidly disappearing moorings of the Enlightenment.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780262015691
Publisher:
MIT Press
Publication date:
01/29/2010
Pages:
240
Product dimensions:
5.70(w) x 8.10(h) x 1.00(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

Table of Contents

Preface and Acknowledgments ix

1 What a Long, Transhuman Trip It Has Already Been 1

2 In the Cause-and-Effect Zone 15

3 Level I and II Technology: Effectiveness, Progress, and Complexity 31

4 Level III Technology: Radical Contingency in Earth Systems 63

5 Individuality and Incomprehensibility 87

6 Complexity, Coherence, Contingency 107

7 Killer Apps 127

8 In Front of Our Nose 159

9 Epilogue: The Museum of Human Frailty 191

Bibliography 211

Index 217

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