Thursday, January 31, 2008

Informal blog

The essay “Can Thought Go On Without a Body?” was haunting me for days. While I did get the message that a human thought process is too complex for our technologies to truly replicate, I still had the feeling that I was missing something. However, I had an epiphany the other day, and I believe I finally get it.

Reading an article in Time magazine by Nancy Gibbs about a double amputee, Oscar Pistorius, who wishes to race on the Olympics in Beijing, helped me to understand it better. With carbon-fiber blades, called Cheetahs, Oscar can run 200 m in 22 sec. I do not watch sports and do not know what is considered to be a “normal” time for 200 m, but I learned from the article that Oscar’s blades do not waste energy as much as our human ankles, and, as a result, Oscar needs less oxygen than his competitors. His request to compete in the Olympics was denied because his blades were considered an unnatural advantage. Oscar’s petition raised many questions in the sports world, and it called for a definition of what is considered normal (human) competitor in the Olympics.

Oscar is a perfect example of the potential new technologies and modern science can offer. He is not only capable to run without his lower extremities, but he can do it more efficiently than ordinary human. So, who knows what we can do in 4.5 billion years? We could construct a machine that would be capable of thinking in more complex ways than humans do. Who knows? In my opinion, what Loytard’s essay is asking is can we consider it to be a human thought. Development of a technology drives us forward, but at the same time we our getting further and further away from our human nature.

1 comment:

Adam Johns said...

There are a number of interesting philosophical books about the consequences (to human nature itself) of this kind of development. Habermas' _Our Posthuman Future_ is one example.

I wanted to mention that basically because you aren't alone - whether or not we are haunted by Lyotard's essay (as I am and you are) most of us are haunted by the changes which seem to be happening to humanity itself...