#Gnomedex 09 Day 2: Amber Case on Prosthetic Culture and Cyborg Anthropology



Traditionally anthropologists go out and look at other cultures and think it’s strange, but this is about looking at our own culture and thinking it’s strange.

Prosthetic culture – our objects extend our capabilities, phones extend ears, laptops extend fingers, etc.

Where do humans end and machines begin?

For instance – the term Cyborg was coined in 1960 – external components had been added for adapting to environments.

we are all cyborgs navigating this internal 4-dimensional space using our laptops as exoskeletons.

Packaging is in a cybernetic relationship with us as we hunt and gather in supermarkets.

Sci-fi has a nice way of creating the future.

Multiplicity of prosthetics – they’re all over us and attached to us. The best retailer of prosthetic is the Apple store – things that you can attach to yourself and your brain.

We’re all shedding materials. Lots of materials.

We share our prosthetic culture with another creature – the trilobite. Trilobites shed their eyes and grow bigger and bigger ones – so do we.

All the world’s a video game – adding followers and friends is like a massive multiplayer game. It’s also like a giant spreadsheet.

Escape velocity of data – no matter how much data you put in the computer it doesn’t get heavier.

A history of the future – Steve Mann at MIT was the first person to lifestream wearing 80 pounds of computing in the mid ’80s. Others doing that now at glogger.mobi


2 thoughts on “#Gnomedex 09 Day 2: Amber Case on Prosthetic Culture and Cyborg Anthropology”

  1. Thank you so much for posting notes on this. I’ll add something I forgot to mention:

    Space devours you. You fight your way out, the data still sticking to you. Those hundreds of Wikipedia articles still attached to your brain like burrs from a field of sticky plants. You can’t help but share them when you get near your friends.

    —It was great to have you there at Gnomedex. See you in the future! (Or, I guess the future has already arrived).



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