Sunday, February 8, 2009

Natural Born Cyborg, responses to first 2 chapters

Here are my responses to the first 2 chapters in the book Natural Born Cyborg (reading the book for my 106 class)

Chapter one of Natural Born Cyborg definitely pulled me into the subject matter quickly. It is easy to read and understand what id being discussed. Clark does an excellent job speaking in layman’s terms. He does not get into extensive explanation that might bog down the anecdotes. The information he gives is enough to understand the subjects he writes of. The brief history of implanted devices is a good introduction to what this book covers. I enjoyed that parts about the ability of the brain to adapt to new sensory input and that the brain should not be kept on a pedestal separate from technological advances that could help us perform task better.
People should be more open to having their lives improved by technology and not frown upon devices that could genuinely improve our lives. The end of the chapter was very interesting. Clark talks about technology seamlessly becoming parts of our lives, to the point where we will have devices that integrate and enhance our natural capabilities without detriment.
1. Summarize the distinction from the traditional Klines & Clines
definition of the cyborg vs. the one that Clark is proposing?
Clark proposes a less intrusive cyborg with devices that seamlessly merge with the body, where Klines and Clines maintain a more traditional version where the augmentation of the body comes from additional devices are added to the body.

2. What kind of model might you have that is dfferent than this?
We lean towards Clark's version of the cyborg where augmentation of the body allows for physical characteristics and abilities to be improved for general application. It does not necessarily have to embody a device attached to the body.

3. What other kind of definations of cyborg might there be?
Internet agent cyborg - allows ordering and delivery of food, ex. pizza delivery
diagnostic device cyborg -
endoscopic surgery - surgeons use remote controlled tools
cell phone/ pda device/ipod -
primitive cyborg - pencil/paper, microwave,

Chapter two starts off with a description of Clark’s visit to the Los Alamos National Laboratories in New Mexico. One theme of the chapter is the changes humans have made to adapt to new technologies over the years; he uses the watch as an example. People had to learn time discipline since they could now check the time whenever the wanted and no longer had to rely on third parties. He also talks about the evolution that technologies go through in order to remain in use and that society must make similar changes, and vice versa. It is a feedback cycle that prompts both sides to continually change. Many forms of technology are also discussed. “Transparent” technology is a blanket term used to describe devices that are easy to use, do not intrude into our lives, and enhance our abilities to interact with the world around us. I’ve seen, and used, some of the devices he talks about. The table where you can place objects and control what content is seen was very fun to play with, as was the system where you could control all the lights in house from one control panel.
I think Clark is correct in his explanation of what kinds of tools people what in their lives. They want ones that can be put down and be separated from. People also want tools that can function without constant input and are always there ready to be used.
1. Summarize a definition as described in the book of what the
significant attributes are for 'opaque' technology vs. an a
'transparent' technology
opaque technology - req's extra training, and are not naturally occurring
transparent - non-intrusive, meld into our lives easily and are used easily

2. Give some examples of technology that should be more transparent
and others that should be more opaque.
more transparent - registering for classes, the qwerty keyboard, Linux/ Windows, automated phone service, 911, arduino
More opaque - car horns, spray paint, bluetooth headset, making telemarketing calls, email/instant messaging/text messaging, purchasing/money use,

3.Does the watch and dictionary example seem valid to you? Why?
yes for the watch since it made for independent time management/sense of time, and it is also a good example of transparent technology since its use is seamless into our lives.
no for the dictionary, its an opaque technology at best, that is even more of a process to use properly

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