From Matters of Play
Jump to: navigation, search


  • "For four billion years evolution has been accumulating knowledge in

its library of genes. You can learn a lot in four billion years. Everyone of the 30 million or so unique species alive on the planet today is an unbro- ken informational thread that traces back to the very first cell."

   I agree whole heartedly to how he compares technology and our DNA. They are doing the same thing gathering new information on top of the compressed information already stored in our hardware. It makes technology and the internet this living organism almost. I think about it in the sense of nothing will ever be "new", just more convenient. Like for example the phenomenon of social media. For 4 billion years the need for organisms to exchange and share information gathered from their individual expiroence has always  been expressed. But it developed new more convenient avenues and ways to do that. Like they start to bond and create multi cell organism, then those organisms start to share and invent language and then that language turns into drawings, and the drawings turn into writing, and the writing turns into telephones,  and now we have the mass sharing, oh so convenient internet. That whole journey is stored in my DNA so I don't have to re discover the first word ever spoken to another being that experience is already there to be built on and added to.


  • "The second difference between evolution of the technium and evolution of the organic is that incremental transformation is the rule in biology. There are very few revolutionary steps; everything advances via a very long series of tiny steps, each one of which must work for the creature at the time. In contrast, technology can jump ahead, make abrupt leaps, and skip over incremental steps." (ch3,p51)
  • "But by far the greatest difference between the evolution of the born and the evolution of the made is that species of technology, unlike species in biology, almost never go extinct." (ch3,p51)

Does technology belong in its own biological kingdom if it doesn't follow the rules of evolution or fulfill the basic requirements for life? The purpose of a biological kingdom is to sort living organisms into categories based on cell type and count. Traits of life include: responsiveness to the environment, growth and change, ability to reproduce, have a metabolism and breathe, maintain homeostasis, being made of cells, and passing traits onto offspring. Some of these can be argued to apply to technology (growth and change in response to the environment--aka evolving needs of users), but even these are not self-initiated. Technology, collectively, must be manipulated by an outside force to achieve anything. A hammer won't become more efficient at pounding nails unless it's changed by the person who uses it.

Technology is not alive in a literal sense, but mimics life in its "evolutionary" patterns because it is created and refined by humans--ruled by biological evolution. Like the shelter is an extension of the animal who builds it (corals, beehives, etc), technology is an extension of the people who create it.

  • "A shelter is animal technology, the animal extended. The extended human is the technium." (ch3,p44)
  • "In this way, we can think of technology as our extended body. During the industrial age it was easy to see the world this way. Steam-powered shovels, locomotives, television, and the levers and gears of engineers were a fabulous exoskeleton that turned man into superman." (ch3,p44)


" The technium gains its immense power not only from its scale but from self-amplifying nature...which disrupts the prevailing balance causing a shift." Pg. 38 This I believe is as it happens what all technology dose, all shifts, they change the view of how we may see the world, thus in a seances creating a "new world" such is what the argument seems to be, that off of one idea it can total change how the world may work- take the wheel for example, or social media even, unlimited possibility to communicate the the very futurist regains of the world, to see endless perspectives and life in real time and with are own eyes and not a second had account noted in a book by an academic. That change can happen at any time, with the right amount of thought and a curtain comfortably with the world one may inhabit.

I also think that this change comes from a collective need for it do so, at the right time in which it needs to happen. As the given example in the text it took 10,000 years for man to develop language, and such only came when they was time to gain it, and a life span to warren it. Change comes via a necessity for it, an evaluation of cells for an ape to see above the tall grass, or the need to talk to one and other, and once the shift happens, there is no reverting back to the old- it is forever changed and will stay such.


"The powers of our minds can be only slightly increased by mindful self-reflection; thinking about thoughts will only make us marginally smarter. The power of the technium, however, can be increased indefinitely by reflecting its transforming nature upon itself. New technologies constantly make it easier to invent better technologies; we can't say the same about human brains." (Ch.4, p.68)

Forms of technium that may seem out of date to us now are still being used in small scale ways, therefore, in our universe that is constantly heading toward this "heat death" through entropy, there are sparks of exotropy as tech. uses elements of itself over and over again. As humans our most powerful aspect is that we can self reflect, but that self-reflection does not necessarily transform us suddenly into a new individual. Technium's way of transforming itself and skipping ahead makes it more powerful than some realize. Will new technium inventions need to be sparked by a human mind or could that be initiated by the technium itself? The technium skips a historic formation that is linear so how could it not as it heads into exotropy?