Theories of Connectivity paints a picture of our tomorrow. It names some of the advancements that we have made in technological areas. Everyday computer companies and universities are devising ways to insert computer systems into every facet of our lives. They have made GPS systems for our cars, palm pilots for easy Internet access, and digital jewelery for easy communication and information storage. We are in an age of network. The average American house already contains more than 40 computers. Last year alone, eight billion new microprocessors came into the world.
Gleick traces our path of the present and future of technology. He simply lays out our undeniable urge to invent. When we were children, we played with our toys and loved to explore. Now that child-like motivation has evolved to a greater maturity, and toys are becoming our future. These devices may be complex, but it seems that the goal of electronic companies is to shrink the product in order to make it simpler to handle. Our technology, pervasive computing, seems to be taking over our world today.
It seems that we are trying to eliminate human thought and, replace it with computers made by limited human minds. I will focus on Heideggers, Habermas, and Marcuses philosophy and their response to todays technology. Each philosopher has their own philosophy on technological advancements. They do not have the advantage of witnessing some of these new advancements and innovations, but their writing will shed some light on their thoughts. Heidegger believes that technology could be our greatest danger. It has caused such problems as ecological destruction, nuclear danger, and consumerism, and it is using technology to solve these problems, which is even worse. Our society seems to be taking away ration thought and diving deeper into technology to fix our problems. Heidegger will present a possible solution called the saving power.
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Habermas asks the question, How is it possible to translate technically exploitable knowledge into the practical consciousness of a social life-world? He explains where technology should evolve and the power that it holds. He sees technology as a whole new way of life, but it must be applied to the life-world. He will present the knowledge constitutive interest theory, which will better describe his stance on modern technology. Marcuse follows a thinking that the machine, industry, becomes the center of society. He is an instrumentalist, a view in which technology is neutral and it adds nothing to the ends it serves. I will go into greater detail with each thinker and their response to Gleicks article on technology.
Martin Heidegger At first Heidegger seems to be anti-technology. Throughout his writings you can find support to this claim such as his attack on consumerism in the war and the evils of TV (Dreyfus 97).
But, in truth, he is warning us about technology. We should embrace it but cautiously. He does not want it to destroy our idea and thinking of being, because he holds natural human thought in high esteem. Technology is merely a means in itself and nothing more.
He begins with the four modes of occasioning-causality-and rules them throughout, all of which is grounded in the revealing. This becomes the bases of instrumentalism, which is the fundamental characteristic of technology. Technology becomes a means of revealing (Heidegger 14-15).
This revealing also applies to modern technology that Gleick speaks about in his article. The revealing within modern technology is a challenge. Technology challenges nature to supply and reproduce. We use all our resources and expect more, and everything begins to depend on each other.
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The suns warmth is challenged forth for heat, which in turn is ordered to deliver steam whose pressure turns the wheels that keep a factory running. (Heidegger 15) Man is always pushing technology further. There is always a search for a greater revealing. Since man by his being alone pushes this, there becomes an ordering to the way of revealing. Modern technology as an ordered revealing is not just human, Heidegger says we must take the challenge to order the real as standing reserve in the way in which it shows itself. From this challenging and revealing comes the enframing.
It is a framework, which brings challenges together in order to reveal. Man is called to reveal the real, in the mode of ordering, as a standing reserve. Nature must always be that standing reserve and storehouse (19).
Heidegger, though, refers to this enframing as the greatest danger. The rule of Enframing threatens man with the possibility that it could be denied to him to enter into a more original revealing and hence to experience the call of a more primal truth. (Heidegger 28) When we witness catastrophe and destruction we tend to blame it on a greater technological framework.
But posing a solution to the problem can also be technological. Heidegger sees the treat as an ontological condition from which cannot be saved. He wants to avoid calculative thinking as the only adopted and practiced way of thinking (Dreyfus 101-102).
The danger is a leveling of our understanding of being (99).
His solution to the problem of technology is not to attack modern technology itself, but keep to technological devises and stay true to our self-being. We do not want to destroy our human nature by clouding it with technology, but we need technology to advance our understanding of being. There must be a happy median between the two. Once we accept this thinking we will be grateful for it.
Heidegger hopes that we can move above and beyond technological thought. We are to use it as a means to an end. Heidegger sees a saving power to the danger in technology; this median of self and technology. The enframing or the essence of technology must include the saving power (Heidegger 19-20).
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Therefore we must consider now, in advance, in what respect the saving power does most profoundly take root and thence thrive even in that wherein the extreme danger lies, in the holding sway of Enframing. Heidegger would be very cautious to Gleicks Theories of Connectivity.
Our progress towards a computerized world is inevitable, but it is the way in which it is connected to humanity that Heidegger is concerned. Palm pilots, GPS devises in cars, and homes that are completely computerized are fine in Heideggers eyes as long as ….