I’ve always kind of thought — or should I say realized? — that people are just biology, that is they are just items. Really, I guess, there is no difference between me and a computer. That’s certainly what Latour is saying.

The question (which some other people want to ask, especially religious people I guess) is whether there is a fundamental difference with people. That question gets to whether people have a soul, and things like that, a question which is both beyond the purview of this course, and beyond people generally (presuming one is an agnostic).

It seems to me that we are going in a direction where technology and people merge. It must be only a matter of time before we have all kinds of communications and computing (e.g. thinking) devices integrating with us in all kinds of now unfathomable ways — then who will we be? Or that is, will we create machines that will lead to our undoing or permanent enslavement to our past? Downey notes that danger comes dominium, meaning lordship or sovereignty. (… “the power of a lord or master… to hurt or harm” …)  But I can’t analyze either these essays or the future to figure out whether they will harm or hurt.  We can’t know that any more than we know whether God exists.

Regarding Boczkowski, I have always had a problem with STS, since it seems to look much more at Science and Technology and less at Society.  To understand STS, you have to understand the economic and social causes and consequences of popular culture (e.g. Britney Spears), since STS is the ultimate expression of popular culture.  These STS researchers never seem to look at the real society beyond their ivory tower, when doing so seems to me to be the only way to rationally decide what to do with technology.


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