I suppose I should write on the function of my now two year old site. I give a brief introduction to my thoughts in the About Page. Some of it I’ll use here.
Art in the Code is supposed to be about utilizing a Humanities approach to analyzing technology. I’ve noticed that most technology blogs focus strictly on the objective nature of technology without ever considering how it will affect the culture in which it will be introduced or the meaning it will produce through our usage.
The reason I took this approach is mainly due to my training in the Humanities, having earned an MA in English and Cultural Studies. I approach tech criticism from a different viewpoint than most STEM Lords.
However, I’ve been lazy and haven’t written much on this topic, instead just playing around with WordPress and various publishing apps. I hope to start writing soon.
I’ve been watching episodes of Westworld on HBO and have been loving the melding of philosophy and technology. The Hosts Robots have achieved free will, or so we think. And it’s chaos. Utter chaos.
It got me thinking as to our approach to technology. We don’t quite respect the what we’ve created. We view our technology as tools. Simple, complex tools that let us order cars at a whim or deliver our dinner with a thumbprint.
But what has this change in technology done to our identity as humans in a world surrounded by superior intelligence that we created? Are we just playing with the code or letting it evolve into something that can define us, or even override us?
In the latest Westworld, (spoilers ahead) William’s wife, Juliette, takes her own life due to his actions in the park. Everything William does in the park is intended to be fictional, a game. A narrative. But the exposure of his horrible actions—rape, murder—bleeds into the real and causes his wife to kill herself.
Michele Foucault focused on the panopticon in his seminal writing Discipline and Punish. Prisoners coordinated their actions based on an authority figure observing them at all times. Even if no one was present to observe, the prisoner still choose his actions based on an observer.
Today, we have observers everywhere. Our phones chronicle our lives as well as the lives of others.
Someone is always watching. And our identity in correlation to technology is being determined by this observation. Much like in Westworld, we are providing the code of our minds with every Facebook update. With every Tweet.
Our identities are becoming digital. Logged, catalogued, waiting in a database to be downloaded into whatever our new physical form becomes.
Data is identity. The physical can be changed.