Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Medienwissenschaft

Dr. Alexander Wilson: TECHNOLOGY AS DELAY (Vortrag / EN)

  • Wann 28.11.2018 von 18:00 bis 20:00
  • Wo Medientheater (EG, Raum 0.01)
  • iCal
Though many contemporary thinkers offer analyses of technological acceleration, it is also worthwhile considering tools and media as forms of delay. Technologies have, since their introduction, induced a temporal buffer between time-critical events and tasks. If the first form of time was that of the subjective necessity materially instantiated in the implicative reflexes of early organisms—the if / then structure of the organism’s urgent conditional responses to life-threatening events—we might say that the original temporality was that of emergency and coping: the temporality in which the living is desperate to act before it is too late. The organism that failed to implicate adequately, or to physiologically implement the program of survival, was quickly deleted by evolutionary selection, and erased from posterity. This bias at the heart of evolutionary dynamics reinforced the organism’s precritical causal and temporal realism. But a curious thing happened in the course of human evolution: technologies began to insert themselves between those life-threatening events and the human organism’s time-critical responses to them. Tools and media have freed up precious time by instantiating delays between urgent tasks, disrupting previous economies of temporal priority. If they are “extensions of man”, it is not that media prolong the reach of our limbs so much as insert themselves between sensations and actions, drawing out the sensory-motor loops that structure the human Umwelt. The genesis of technology thus reads as the progressive mitigation of the onrush of critical events, the relaxation of states of emergency, the dilation of the present as a buffer between future and past, progressively making time available for the development of auxiliary powers hitherto denied by selective pressures. These auxiliary powers, in particular those of abstraction, imagination, speculation, and of questioning, doubt, and logic, may be said to stem from the non-time-critical utterances and activities that flooded the world of early humans, as a result of this technical relaxation of temporal urgency. In this talk, I will offer a speculative introduction to some of my recent research on technology, temporality, and the human future, through the conceptual lens of “technology as delay”.
Zur Person:
Dr. Alexander Wilson is a Canadian researcher in science and technology studies, philosophy of technology and science, media studies, and aesthetics. His upcoming book Aesthesis and Perceptronium: On the Entanglement of Sensation, Cognition, and Matter (2019: University of Minnesota Press, Posthumanities Series) examines the conditions of possibility of human experience and situates scientific, technological, and aesthetic practices within broader non-anthropocentric considerations on agency, embodiment, and cognition. His current research projects, Technofuturology: A Machine Learning Approach to the Study of Technological Effects on Temporal Perspectives, and Dropping Out Of Nature: On Promethean Ecology, stem from the premises established in the book, notably its plea for naturalizing transcendental subjectivity by considering the effects of scientific paradigms and technological environments on human experience and cognition. He has been appointed a post-doctoral research position in Communication and Culture at Aarhus University (Denmark) since 2015, where he has examined the logical and material conditions of cognition with regard to technogenesis, technological pessimism/optimism, the digitalization and automation of contemporary life, and the specter of the posthuman. His PhD in Arts at UQAM (Montreal, Canada), investigated the question of mind and memory beyond the human, drawing from theories of complexity, emergence, systems theory, evolutionary dynamics and philosophies of process.