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November 23, 2011 - Cyborg.docx

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Media, Information and Technoculture
Course Code
Media, Information and Technoculture 2500A/B
John Reed

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Cyborg November 23, 2011 i. Self-operating machines - Early automata - Models of universe/body - Androids and humanoids ii. Self regulating machines - Governance - Autonomous tech iii. Cybernetics - Wiener - Von Neumann - Weiner iv. Cyborg - Military/Movie/Medical v. Natural born cyborgs - When tech dovetails back The blurring between the biological and the artificial Self-operating Machines (13 – 18 century)th - Automata (automaton): Machines that seem to operate on their own A. Early Automata - Automated clock from the 1200’s, a clock that runs itself - Hydrolis, water powered organ… 300 BC B. Machines as a model for the body - Looking at machines for an analogy of how the body works - Lungs = Bellows, Heart = Pump, all linked by pipes th - Kircher’s talking head from the 17 century - Vancanson’s Digesting Duck (used to study the way that bodies operate - Automated Biological Systems C. Androids (look human) - Things that appear to be Human - Sithlated thency - 18 to 19 century - Automaton (talking Asian head) D. Humanoid - R2D2 - Humanoid made by Honda (Asimo) (HR-2) - All of these appear to function on their own but they don’t, they are connected to a network - Mowgli - Machines that are not really self operating Self-Regulating Machines A. Governance, i.e. regulation 1. Ungoverned (must be governed by a Human being) Newcomen steam engine in 1712 - Human Governor - Human must feed the fire and control the steam Watt steam engine - Flyball governor, allows the device to self regulate – when the temperature is very high, the orbs spin high in the air and releases the steam, as the pressure drops, the balls lower and allows it to build steam back up. Very simple technology, but a radical innovation in self-regulation and computer science. This is also an automaton, it can control itself - A system that is gauging information and constantly getting feedback to its environment. RECAP! Self-operating machines that don’t actually self operate Self-regulating machines; Flyball governor Autonomous, humanoid and the android B. Autonomous Technology - Technology that functions on its own - Beyond human control - Tied to complex systems (like an android) - Frankenstein Cybernetics (1940’s-1950’s) - Cybernetics is the study of communication and feedback - What is interesting about it, is that it does not care if what is communicating is human or artificial. Interested in just the communication and the feedback between the systems - People, animals, plants as systems that respond to their environment - Person and a telephone (star shapes, people and the artificial on the same plan, history of thinking with cybernetics - The study of how various systems respond to their environments doesn’t matter if they are human or not. - A. Wiener, 1940’s (regulation) - Control and communication in the animal and the machine - Cybernetics is not concerned with the medium, puts the human and the artificial on the same plane! - Puts the human on the same plan with what they created - Cybernetics is Greek for “steering ship” - A very simple example is a person in a boat using a rudder, doesn’t have to be robotic or electronic. Feedback between the operator, machinery, and the environment. Sees the human being, their eyes, their brain, their body parts running the boat, the rudder, the water, and having an effect on their environment - Can be seen in a fully automated factory. Feedback analysis adaptation. - The way your body operates becomes invisible to you, becomes interested in looking at this in all types of systems - Just a system of communication that requires the artificial, the human, the chemical all put on the same plane - The focus is on communication and the response to the environment, not the medium itself - Simply interested in communication - Has a radical way of re thinking ourselves to our environment - Focuses on the message and not the medium. - Gaming, you are connected to a network, you have your controller, your gaming chair, you’re taking in feedback and you are adapting, the game is taking in information and adapting as well. Often asks you the level you want to play at. The machine itself is very sophisticated in part of this cybernetics system. - Feedback determines powerups (kill streak in call of duty) - A system of feedback and adaptation going on in your brain - Following cybernetic principles 1. The Anti-aircraft predictor (1940) - Put a thing in the sky to see where the plane is going to be - Involves the weapon itself, the radar system, the weapon site itself, involves taking in to account where the plane is in the sky, and tracking where it will be based on its past behavior - Constitutes a cybernetic communication loop: The gun, the radar, the pilot, the shell, interested in the communication between all these systems. All together seen as one system - Cover of Time magazine, January 23, 1950 B. Von Neumann, 1940’s (replication - Interested in replication - Turned to the body to see how cells in the body communicate and work - Self-improving information systems - As a mathematician he saw living systems and artificial systems as just information systems. - Responsible for the idea of cellular automata - Looking at things on a literal chemical, cellular level, how does the nervous system work, how do hormones communicate with the body? - Mathematical theory - On/Off neighbor acts, if one of these boxes is on, and its neighbor is on, it will perform a certain task, if not it will perform a different task, if it does not have a neighbor, it will perform a different task, a system with infinite possibilities, ends up with a system operating on its own. - Synapse and chemistry: On/off communication. They combine in ways that cannot be predicted, on a chemical level. - Applied it mathematically and figured we could design a system this way - Looked at the body as a communication system, synapses are either on or off and tend to act in unpredictable ways - Not looking at technology as a model for the body, looking at the body as a model for technology - Part of the field of cybernetics - Simple patterns create complex systems that nobody can predict - EX. The game of life: Kind of mathematical evolution going on, has a huge effect on the design of computers and software! You see a system that is self-organizing from initial condition. On, off or nothing. Starts to self organize, mutate, and evolve. - It is a self-improving system, just like an autonomous system, it is a mathematical system - He ignores the medium, puts plants, machines and people on the same level - Says that the body acts like this - EX. Spore: You start with an initial condition and you let the system run and you self evolve. Self improving - Interested in reproduction and regulation in artificial systems using biology as a guide C. Wiener, 1950, Automation and Blending - Interested in what is common in machines and humans, it terms of feedback and control - Mechanical control, feedback and stability
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