Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Humans are not really the sex organs of technology

Jason is making videos almost as fast as I can blog them!

This one is titled: Humans are the Sex Organs of Technology:

This time I'm considerably more skeptical. There's more to this video than its title, but I'm only going to discuss the idea in the title - which Jason attributes to Kevin Kelly. It's true that ideas - including ideas about technology - mostly recombine inside human minds. However, the idea that "Humans are the Sex Organs of Technology" has quite a bit of bad poetry in it, IMHO.

The phrase implies that technology is an organism - whereas any reasonable classification scheme would identify technology as the product of a massive congregation of organisms. Technology is much more like an ecosystem than an organism. It's quite a bit like calling "Gaia" an organism. Most biologists will frown on such usage.

Jason compares technology to sunflowers, and humans to bees. However, the sex organs of sunflowers simply are not bees. The female sex organs are the carpels (including stigmas, styles and ovaries), while the male sex organs are stamens (including anthers and filaments). Not bees. Bees are distinct creatures with their own sexual organs.

The comparison between the flower-bee symbiosis and the technology-human symbiosis seems fairly apt to me. However, I think that this comparison supports the title of this article more than it supports Jason's title.

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