15.439 embodied computing

From: Humanist Discussion Group (by way of Willard McCarty (w.mccarty@btinternet.com)
Date: Thu Jan 10 2002 - 02:56:43 EST

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                   Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 15, No. 439.
           Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London

             Date: Thu, 10 Jan 2002 07:46:54 +0000
             From: lachance@chass.utoronto.ca (Francois Lachance)
             Subject: Re: 15.430 rev of Dryfus, On the Internet

    Willard and Arun-Kumar,

    Is the Dreyfus question the correct question?

    > Date: Fri, 04 Jan 2002 10:43:41 +0000
    > From: Arun-Kumar Tripathi

    > In his recent book, Dreyfus puts forward a critical
    > comment on the Internet. Taking a phenomenological perspective he asks,
    > what is the price that we pay when we leave our bodies behind and go
    > on-line.

    1) we do not leave our bodies
    2) we do not "go" online

    Astral projection a la theosophy is an old predecessor of the discourses
    of out-of-body experience. One does not need to be intimate
    with the intricacies of Renaissance NeoPlatonism or the subtle
    ramifications of Baroque literature such as Calderon's _Life is a Dream_
    on postmodern sensibilities to question the metaphor of disembodiment as
    the most apt characterization of computer-mediated communication.

    The interesting question of synchronization arises... the traces of a body
    working/playng in space (those wonderful emoticons and SHOUTs) represent
    the events. The body moves on. Events can be strung together to read a
    character: the traces of a body's habits.

    The questons of synchronization also challenges the travel metaphors. One
    uses the technology to communicate or to compute (i.e. to send or to
    analyse messages). The move from thinking of the human-machine interface
    as one involving a "user" to one involving a "voyager" displaces, I
    believe the importance of the role of cultural producer and contributes to
    the belief that, without verifiable reporting back on explorations, many
    cybernauts are tourist-consumers. However, if one considers that people do
    not "go on online" but use the networks, on is less likely to endorse the
    disembodiment thesis.

    1) from our bodies we send signals and with our bodies we receive signals;
    there is no unmediated communication
    2) networks can be characterized by synapses as much as by connections;
    the body itself is a network.

    Check the Humanist archive for
    Gale Moore's posting on human-centred design for a meditation on the human
    element in systems
    <cite>Electronic technology is notoriously non-resilient or brittle -- it
    works or it doesn t. Human beings are a major source of resilience </cite>

    Check the Humanist archive again for a piece by Sean Cubbit submitted by
    Arun-Kumar Tripathi for a phenomenological account of sociality.
    <cite>The desire to render an account of pure perception runs everywhere
    counter to the idea of a perception which remains unmediated. There is a
    philosophical dilemma here: an unmediated perception can never be
    communicated, by definition, so there will never be evidence of its
    occurring except from introspection. </cite>

    I always been happily embodied, but not always in mind of my body :)

    Francois Lachance, Scholar-at-large
    per Interactivity ad Virtuality via Textuality

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