Project Synopses - M Outhwaite | Beal Institute Essays + Papers
Submitted on Wed, 11/07/2007 - 12:02 — mark_outhwaite
This first synopsis introduces an essay that I intend to contribute to Bob Logan's Beal Institute papers and essays
The more fearful lamentations of cautionary science fiction have long been kept safely out of reach from consensus reality, their portents living mostly in the imagined worlds of novels and film. The 'reality is stranger than fiction' factor however, has been elevated over the course of the past year, where a number of prominent researchers, journalists and filmmakers have initiated a series of interrelated and subtly prophetic discourses concerning the conflation of the human body and information. This text is concerned with the framing of these discourses as questions, for which their corresponding solutions should in turn indicate the choices we will eventually have to make in the pursuit of creating 'better' bodies and minds, for both body and mind reveal the effects that our tools have had on them throughout our evolutionary past. With the work that our tools perform now being inwardly focused, the new uses we have devised for our tool-making capability mark the epochal transition into a new kind of human civilization, one whose rise shouldn't transpire without our first coming to terms with its forecasted consequences. If there is truth to what some have said, that we are by now well into the first generation of the development of this new form of civilization that may be seen as actively fielding the power of biomedicine to transform the human organism at the irreversible 'germ-line' level where genomics and embryology operate, it follows that we ought not allow our dreams to become nightmares, by our being caught asleep at the controls of our machines.
This second synopsis introduces my ongoing passion project "Family Inchoate."
The origins of this project are borne of efforts over the past several months to qualify cities, Socialpedia and 'relational artifacts' as a similarly oriented genus of technologies adapted to channeling the affective and relational capacities of individuals and groups into couplings with interactive digital objects and environments. This strand is a critique of what comes in between the social animal that we are, and the artificial capacitors designed to amplify and redirect our affective and relational capacities as they occur between one and another, into the screen and away from the 'windows into the soul.'
Taking into consideration the advisories of my colleagues, and drawing on discourses traded among contemporaries in industry, applied science and academia, my expectation of the Family Inchoate project lay in partially resolving an abductive probe into what might become of Google Earth were its current potential to encounter the future possibility of increasing bandwidth, a fully functioning Internet of Things and life-recording media technologies inclusive of pervasive sensor/surveillance nets and low-cost terabyte digital memory