We shape our tools and therefore they shape us


Cyborgs have largely been understood by two opposing identities: those that begin with mechanical systems are made to kill, while those with a human origin are made to live (Croissant 1998, 295). Yet the hybridity inherent in the cyborg image that Haraway suggested can provide us a way to go beyond this either-or perspective. It might prove useful for us to think of human-machine interaction as flowing in both directions, as both limiting and liberating. In Sleep Dealer, it is technology that killed Memo’s father and reduces the node workers’ sensitivity, but it is also technology that ultimately destroy the dam to set free the water and return it to Memo’s village. In the beginning of the film it is technology as forces of alienation that exercises control on characters, yet as the film progresses, technology is eventually converted into tools the serve the characters’ final act of liberation. In a rather dystopic vision of the future, hope remains and not completely erased (Rivera, cited in Holt 2010); technology has the capability to drive human apart and bring them closer. In a time of transition, the cyborg image can lend us new ways to think about the characteristics of digital technology, its limits and potentials, what it can give and what it can take.


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