Rethinking Human Enhancement: Social Enhancement and Emergent Technologies

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Manufacturers, suppliers and others provide what you see here, and we have not verified it. See our disclaimer. Understanding the agency, vulnerability and resilience of people living with technologies inside their bodies s therefore an urgent question. Technologies inside bodies challenge a longstanding tradition of theorizing human-technology relations in STS and philosophy of technology.

For a long time, most theories on human agency, including the work of Latour and Ihde, only addressed technologies external to the body.

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These theoretical approaches conceptualize the interactions between humans and technologies merely as finite and limited, temporal events and focus on devices that are more or less under the control of humans. Technologies implanted in bodies challenge these approaches to human-technology relations in two different ways.

Second, implants involve continuous interactions between human bodies and technologies that may last a whole life time. Understanding the agency, vulnerability and resilience of people living with technologies implanted in their bodies also challenges social studies of cyborgs because this scholarship silences the lived experiences and voices of people living with implants and neglects the materiality of hybrid bodies.


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  6. In my lecture, I will discuss recent feminist studies on the intimate relationships between bodies and technologies that argue that it is important to re-materialize the cyborg. Based on my current research on pacemakers and implantable defibrillators I suggest that medical implants may best be considered as body-companion technologies.

    #205 Laura Cabrera: The Philosophy of Human Enhancement

    This metaphor invites us to approach technologies implanted in bodies as devices that act as life-long companions that are inextricably intertwined with all aspects of life, including the process of dying. Approaching technologies inside bodies as body- companion technologies draws the attention to the multiplicity of human-technology relations co-constituted by gender, age, and the geo-political landscape. Her research interests and publications include the co-construction of technologies and users, with a particular focus on medical technologies.


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