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The Cyborg and Its Brain

The Cyborg and Its Brain

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Published by Joe Kalicki

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Published by: Joe Kalicki on Dec 11, 2012
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Joe KalickiDecember 4, 2012Joshua Mehler ENC3021
The Cyborg, Media, and the Confluence of Technology and Representation
We live in an age where information is king and the technology companies who provideand present this information are not only important as a beneficiary to society and itsinfrastructure, but are extremely economically important as well. Google and Apple arerespectively two of the most valuable companies in the world, and barring a bubble burst likeone that occurred in the late 90s they will remain so until they are overtaken by someone who possesses more advanced or impressive technology. The idea behind interpreting modern mediadelivery systems and the rhetorical value behind it was established by Marshall McCluhan, withhis book 
Understanding Media,
in which McCluhan establishes that media is simply “anyextension of ourselves” or “any new technology”. These forms of media dictate the way wecommunicate and provide structural boundaries due to the limitations of various types of variousmediums.Pairing McCluhan’s views on media with the idea of the impending integration of knowledge databases and machinery that assists us in communication and learning with humansas described by Donna Harraway, we can look at a piece of modern technology and interpret a lotabout rhetoric in modern society and also speculate on where we are headed. Notably, we seehow communication has become far more centric around visual delivery systems and that theidea of emphasizing minimalism, simplicity, efficiency has become an increasingly monumental
 
task and key in creating quality tools for us to use. My artifact is a promotional video released byApple on their website for their recently revamped Macbook Pro. The five minute long videodetails the new technology included in the newly released device. I chose this as it is an icon of industrial design that houses the smoothest information convergence on any piece of technologythat has ever existed. Never has a family of technologies so continuously merged a human’sconsciousness across several screens and provided a “cooler” (in McCluhan’s terms) form of media like the Macbook Pro, iPhone, and iPad have.Furthermore, it opens up a gateway of communication through easily produced videos,virtual messages, and even face to face communication between two individuals who are possibly tens of thousands of miles away from one another. The laptop has become a literalextension of many people’s existence (including myself) and I am more than ever a cyborg(having a mechanical leg and my livelihood being entirely depending on the advancement of technology helps the analogy). Our phones and laptops are becoming our eyes, ears, and to anextent, our brains. Myself and others use these interconnecting interfaces to share data withmillions of people and receive information an equal number of sources. Rhetoric’s successes andfailures are highly dependent on the medium by which they are delivered.In the video, the first emphasis is on newness and the willingness to change and moveforward in able to create more efficient systems. Jonathan Ive who is speaking in the intro, notonly designed most of Apple’s products over the last ten years, but notably came up with theiconic design of the original iPod, which was viewed as something that would kill the musiccollection. Many people throughout history have feared the progression of technology and it’strend to turn traditional mediums outmoded and unnecessary. Plato believed that the use of 
 
writing would “kill the living memory” and that overall it was a bad thing for rhetoric andknowledge as he associated writing as invention that led to myth (myth can be extrapolated to“speculation”) which sat in opposition to knowledge, truth, and Socratic dialectic. What Platorefused to acknowledge (and to be fair, he didn’t have the historical perspective to back thisclaim up) is that we rely on information delivery advances to improve as a society and morespecifically improve in rhetorical delivery. If anything, the information which Plato views as potentially fallacious is able to be vetted more easily when you have access to more sources of knowledge.Easier distribution of knowledge occurs with technology that expedites the source of knowledge for the recipient. Writing and the descendent technologies are more efficient andconsistent than word of mouth and mind. You can constantly refer to written material andreinforce your memory, whereas memory only degrades and often times fails because we are, atthe moment, still humans with occasionally faulty wiring. A more educated populace morereadily receives rhetoric of all types, as they need less explained to them and can handle moreadvanced references that save the rhetor time. It is imperative that we don’t let prejudices andfears overrule our desire to advance or we will reach an impasse of pointless uncertainty that willruin the advancement of human society.The next key element of the ad is the new Retina display, which is the most clear andlifelike display that has ever existed. Provided that the source image is a high enough resolution,you literally cannot see the pixels with the naked eye on the screen and text is sharper than it iswhen printed traditional with traditional ink methods on physical paper. This is important anddistinguishable from traditional laptop screens If Marshall McCluhan were to be alive today,

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