Sunday, May 18, 2014

Wearables-Mobile-IOT Tech creates Fourth Person Perspective

So far the individual has almost always existed in the context of a society of others. This could change in the farther future as individuals might be in the form of a variety of digital and physical copies in different stages of augmentation. It could become more difficult to find ‘like-others.’ My claim is that the function of alterity (an awareness of others that triggers subjectivation) would need to persist for individuals to fully become themselves, but it would not need to come from others that are like us.

All that is needed is some sort of external otherness that can show us ourselves in a new way to facilitate a moment of development. There is nothing in the function of alterity to suggest that it must be an ‘other’ that is like us. It is just that it has been this way historically, because other humans have been the ready form of ‘the other.’ It has been easiest and most noticeable when another human serves as a device like a mirror allowing us to see ourselves in a new way.

However, it is quite possible that the alterity function could be fulfilled in many other ways that do not involve a self-similar subject. One mechanism that is already allowing us to see ourselves in new ways is quantified self-tracking gadgetry. The ensemble of QS gadgets creates a fourth-person perspective, an objective means of seeing ourselves via exteriority and alterity that can trigger a moment of subjectivation. Now understanding the alterity function as such, there could be many alternative means of fulfilling it. 

Longer video on the topic: Posthuman Interpretation of Simondon's Individuation

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