Relationships between technology and cyborgs, technology and gender, and technology and nature have all been drawn throughout the material presented thus far. Though there are many convincing arguments to solidify such connections, I believe that the greatest relationship lies between technology and human nature, where technology is present physiologically, intellectually, and socially in the hardwiring of humans.
On the most basic level, technology can be thought of as an integrated part of not only human physiology, but of the biological functioning of any form of life. As Lyotard states, “…technology wasn’t invented by us humans. Rather the other way around…even the simplest life forms…are already technical devices” (Lyotard 12). Such technological devices begin as microscopic cells, capable of self-maintenance while performing complicated functions. These cells combine in great numbers to create larger, more complex systems that are not only adapted for survival, but can also process, regulate, and store vital information. Lyotard argues the following: “Any material system is technological if it filters information useful to its survival, if it memorizes and processes that information and makes inferences based on the regulating effect of behaviour” (Lyotard 12). As millions of years have passed, humans have evolved into such data processing creatures, arguably becoming increasingly intelligent and complex. In this sense, evolution can be correlated to technological advancements: as the technical devices that compose the human body are refined, human nature also becomes more developed and advanced.
Based on the belief that the human body is, in itself, a technological device, it can also be speculated that the desire for humans to seek technological advancement is an innate aspect of human nature. Because we are made up of tiny complex machines that are capable of processing all types of information, perhaps our body as a whole is programmed to function as a technological machine. Or, in other words, the ability to interpret information from the outside world and to apply the resulting knowledge toward technological advancements may be a natural human process. In regards to the ability of humans to interpret such information Lyotard states, “[It] is possible only because the material ensemble called ‘man’ is endowed with very sophisticated software” (Lyotard 13). As scientific and technological knowledge is expanded through the use of our complex data processing systems (humans’ “software”), a type of snowball effect occurs, resulting in the exponential and continuous development of technology.
Because it is arguably within human nature to seek such technological advancements, technology also becomes a part of the social aspect of human nature. The technological aspect of the human mind provides infinite possibilities for technological advancements in society. Bill Joy focuses on such rapidly developing technologies, and on the countless scientific and technologic innovations that are likely to appear in the future. Most of these possibilities, Joy believes, will be detrimental to human nature, as the following sums up his concerns: “Our most powerful 21st century technologies….are threatening to make humans an endangered species”. Joy recognizes the continuous presence of technology in society, and is concerned with the human ability to develop such technologies to amazing yet terrifying degrees. In contrast to Joy’s fears, I believe that though technologies created by humans are powerful and often essential parts of today’s society, human nature and human intelligence remain to be the basis of such creations. The physiological technologies that combine to make the human form are the most complex and natural forms of technology; therefore, outside technological advancements will not likely surpass the ability of the human mind without the ultimate assistance from the human creators. Ultimately, though technological advancements can potentially pose a threat to human nature, the fact that humans are the basis of such advancements leads one to believe that humans can also end such advancements, should a simple threat become an actual problem.
Referring back to Lyotard, he concludes that, “[A human] can grasp itself as a medium (as in medicine) or as an organ (as in goal-directed activity) or as an object (as in thought—I mean aesthetic as well as speculative thought)” (Lyotard 12). This supports the belief that the hardwiring of humans to become complex technological machines results in the ability for humans to perform many different functions, including pioneering technological advancements both inside and outside of the human body. Because of this physiological makeup, human nature is virtually technologically wired to pursue scientific and technological fields. As a result, technology always has been, and will continue to be, an integral part of human nature in all possible aspects of life.