1220HSL | Lecture Five – Is This The End Of everything
page-template-default,page,page-id-17667,ajax_fade,page_not_loaded,,qode-title-hidden,side_area_uncovered_from_content,qode-theme-ver-9.1.3,wpb-js-composer js-comp-ver-6.2.0,vc_responsive

Lecture Five – Is This The End Of Everything?

Lecture Five is the last lecture in the five lecture series focused on our philosophical discussion on technology, humanity, and business. It it titled, ‘Is This The End Of Everything?’ and early on I will take you back to where we started, detail where the primary question associated with your first major assignment came from, and ensure you have a good grasp of the writing task ahead of you. We will take a closer look at Kevin Kelly’s biological and evolutionary standpoint on technology and then introduce you to Jaron Lanier and his oposing view that if we continue to follow the path that technology is currently leading us down we will end up dehumanizing the world. We will discuss The ‘Extended Mind Thesis’ in detail (maybe depending on time this section has been included as an add-on to the main lecture slides) and link it to the idea of the ‘Noosphere’. We will discuss intelligence augmentation, artificial intelligence, and man-computer symbiosis as the types of things that may push us towards the existential threat of ‘technological singularity’. I will ask you if we have subscribed to an illusion and if we may have actually just invented and signed up for our own demise. And to finish I want to tell you a short story and ask you to join me in wasting time. text heavy slides for a reason. You are about to write me something. I wanted to give you as much to go on as possible. However we will run the lecture as per usual. Where it goes it where it goes. Some additional content in addition to the lecture slides and links to the side (Kelly’s is good, Lanier’s is just weird, Sankar’s is good we will talk a bit about that in the lecture, and Chalmers’s is ok a bit loose and the add on lecture slides are a cooler explanation and way more recent too).



Lecture Five Slides (ppt)

Lecture Five Slides (pdf)

Lecture Five Add On Slides (ppt)

Lecture Five Add On Slides (pdf)

Interview with Jaron Lanier

David Chalmers On The Extended Mind




You have had a multitude of discussions over the past five weeks on technology, humanity, and business. Where does the truth lie for you guys …

Jaron Lanier on Personhood (2010) … “Being a person is not a pat formula. It is a quest, a mystery, a leap of faith. Technologists and computer scientists make up extensions to your being, like remote eyes and ears (web cams and mobile phones) and expanded memory (the world of details you can search for online). These become the structures by which you connect to the world and other people. These structures in turn can also change how you conceive of yourself and the world. We tinker with your philosophy by direct manipulation of your cognitive experience, not indirectly through argument. It only takes a tiny group of engineers to create technology that can shape the entire future of human experience with incredible speed. The deep meaning of personhood is being reduced by illusions of bits. Since people will be inevitably connecting to one another through computers from here on out, we must find an alternative. Here are some things you can do to be a person instead of a source of fragments to be exploited by others …


  • Don’t post anonymously unless you really might be in danger
    Create a website that expresses something about who you are that wont fit into the template available to you on a social media networking site
  • Post a video once in a while that took you one hundred times more time to create than it takes to view
  • Write a blog post that took weeks of reflection before you heard the inner voice that it needed to come out
  • If you are twittering, innovate in order to find a way to describe your internal state instead of trivial external events”



Kevin Kelly

“Technology is the seventh kingdom of life. And we have a moral obligation to invent technology so that every person on the globe has the potential to realize their true difference”


Jaron Lanier

“If you don’t treat humans as special, if you don’t create some special zones for humans – especially when you are designing [or integrating] technology – you’ll end up dehumanizing the world. And what we have done in the last decade is give information [and data] more rights than are given to people”

The beginnings of a story (which we will finish in the lecture) … Our days are now increasingly subdivided into smaller and smaller units of time. From the moment we open our eyes in the morning until we close them at night we are “on project” (Boag, 2016, p. 13) – working on laptops, tablets, phones, answering emails, checking messages, updating social media, reading and adding to online content. Whilst the overall time associated with our lives – our longevity – has increased (Dawesar, 2013), high-speed communication technologies and our wholehearted subscription to them have “unquestionably sped up the pace of life” (Boag, 2016, p. 13). The result is that our understanding of the smallest measure of time – the moment – has been become “granular” (Dawesar, 2013). Our understanding of time has been reduced down to that which can only be discretely measured. The only time that counts is efficient time. And because of this we just don’t stop. We have been sold on the idea of a frictionless life. A life void of ‘pain points’ – everyday annoyances that waste time and energy thanks to the supposed ‘friction’ they add to our lives – think the ‘pain’ that arises from having to look up the number of the local taxi service, the discomfort induced from having to reach into your bag fish out your wallet and find a credit card or cash, or the sheer agony from having to trek to the bookstore to buy an actual book. This frictionless life allows us to be more efficient. It supposedly allows us to use every discrete moment as productively as possible. To simply get more done. Burkeman, 2016 muses that, “… only a fool would, you might think, object to a life with less pain. Yet on closer inspection there is something troubling about the promise of a frictionless life” (Burkeman, 2016, p. 21). So too the idea that we must be efficient with every single one of our life’s “moments” (Dawesar, 2013). In the pursuit of technologically driven efficiency, we risk losing something significant …

Something From Shyam Sankar


“Computers don’t detect novel patterns and new behaviors, but humans do. Humans using technology, testing hypotheses, searching for insight by asking machines to do things for them. Osama Bin Laden was not caught by artificial intelligence. He was caught by dedicated, resourceful, brilliant people in partnerships with various technologies”




Write us something fantastic. Something you. Where do you stand guys …