It's a fictional streetscape we wander, here, a metropolis whose buildings, boulevards, and back alleys are in a constant state of flux. This is every place, and yet, no place at all - a city of dreams and a dream of a city.

Here, we explore the life and work of Ivan Illich and his circle of collaborators. There's no comprehensive index to the articles published, but we invite you to use the Search box, to the left, and to explore the Archive links that appear at the bottom of each page. Comments are welcomed.

Friday, August 05, 2011

Cyborgs, All of Us

If anyone had any doubt about Illich's observation that we moderns have taken to perceiving ourselves in cybernetic terms, look no further than the NY Times for Aug. 3, 2011.

A story appears there - in the "Home & Garden" section, of all places - under the headline "A Dashboard for Your Body."

The Times article reviews a handful of colorful iPod-like gadgets that collect, analyze, and display physiological data: how many steps a person walks during the day, temperature, pulse and heart rate, weight, and blood pressure. Several of these gizmos send their data wirelessly to a computer, or a company website, where the data is collected over time for viewing and comparison with others'. One, called Fitbit, gets special attention:

"Although Fitbit doesn’t explicitly acknowledge this in its marketing materials, the gadget makes you feel bad about yourself. The device ($100) is a super-powered pedometer; it monitors movement while you sleep as well as counts your steps, and it sends all the data back to Fitbit’s Web-based tracking program, which displays your lethargy on the sort of precise charts and graphs that economists use to monitor recessions."

It's only a matter of time, we predict, before people start posting physiological readings to the Web, perhaps even sharing them with each other via Twitter, so that "friends" can view and perhaps even experience each other's bodily functions in "real-time."

No comments:

Powered By Blogger


Santa Rosa, California, United States
Writer, photographer, music fan; father and husband living in northern Calif.