Neuroengineering/ConcludingThoughts

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Introduction
Brain-Machine Interfaces
Optogenetic Mapping: Neurotechnology Renaissance
Ubiquious Computing and Augmented Reality
The Affective Turn: Emotional Branding, Neuromarketing, and the New, New Media
Concluding Thoughts

Conclusion


Brian Rotman and Brian Massumi are both optimistic about what access to the affective domain might occasion for our emerging posthuman communal mind. For Massumi, better grasping the domain of affect will provide a basis for resistance and counter tactics to the political-cultural functioning of the media.(Massumi, 43-44) For Rotman the grammaticalization of gesture holds the prospect of a new order of body mediation opening it to other desires and other semiotics. Pentland is equally optimistic. But his reflections on what quantification of the affective domain may offer sound more like a recipe for assimilation than resistance. Pentland writes:


By designing systems that are aware of human social signaling, and that adapt themselves to human social context, we may be able to remove the medium’s message and replace it with the traditional messaging of face-to-face communication. Just as computers are disappearing into clothing and walls, the otherness of communications technology might disappear as well, leaving us with organizations that are not only more efficient, but that also better balance our formal, informal, and personal lives. Assimilation into the Borg Collective might be inevitable, but we can still make it a more human place to live. (2005, 39)


Computer scientist/novelist Vernor Vinge first outlined the notion that humans and intelligent machines are headed toward convergence, which he predicted would occur by 2030. (Vinge, 1993) Vinge also predicted a stage en route to the Singularity where networked, embedded, and location-aware microprocessors provide the basis for a global panopticon. (Vinge, 2000; Wallace, 2006) Vinge has remained steadfastly positive about the possibilities presaged in this era: “...collaborations will thrive. Remote helping flourishes; wherever you go, local experts can make you as effective as a native. We experiment with a thousand new forms of teamwork and intimacy.” (Vinge, 2000) Such systems are not only on the immediate horizon; they are patented and commercially available in the prototypes coming from the labs and companies founded by scientists such as Pentland, Maes and Rekimoto, each of whom is emphatic about the need to implement and insure privacy in the potentially panoptic systems they have developed. (Sense Networks, “Principles”). We need not fear the singularity; but beware the panopticon.

References

Massumi, Brian. Parables for the Virtual: Movement, Affect, Sensation. Durham: Duke University Press, 2002.
Pentland, A. "Socially Aware, Computation and Communication." Computer 38, no. 3 (2005): 33-40.
Vinge, Vernor "The Coming Technological Singularity." Paper presented at the Vision-21 Symposium, NASA Lewis Research Center and the Ohio Aerospace Institute, 30 to 31 March 1993.
Vinge, Vernor. "The Digital Gaia." Wired 8, no. 01 (2000).
Wallace, Mark. "Vernor Vinge Paints the Future at AGC: Transcript of Vinge's Keynote Address at the 2006 Austin Game Conference." http://www.3pointd.com/20060908/vernor-vinge-paints-the-future-at-agc/.

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