In today's society, technology has become smaller and wireless, and personal electronics are designed to either be worn on the body or carried inside clothing. William J. Mitchell states in Me++ that this trend will lead to wires being built into clothing and "electronic parasites" being implanted into the body. However, the complications and concerns that come with that type of technology could have a large impact on society and humanity.
For data networking there are more options. The links may be wired, as with the connections between pocket telephones or music players and earphones — the wires loosely draped or running elegantly through seams or zippers. Or links may be wireless, allowing anatomical logic rather than contiguity requirements to dictate disposition of functional elements around the body — relatively bulky power supplies and processors in pockets, audio outputs in the ears, video displays in handhelds, on wrists, or integrated with spectacles, sensors wherever they are needed, and so on. They may even be run (harmlessly) through the body itself. [Me++, 79]
1. Mitchell speaks of clothing with wiring integrated into it. How will this affect class distinctions if certain people are unable to afford them?
2. If wireless does become fully integrated into our beings, how would that affect privacy, surveillance, and our culture? Would we eventually become like 1984?
3. If electronics continue to become smaller and eventually part of our bodies, will we eventually lose our humanity? Will we become more machine than man, and will we just become personas in an cyber network?
4. Mitchell talks about separation of work and home. However, if wireless is integrated more fully into our beings, will we able to separate work, home, and other spheres? How will this affect society and humans?
Mitchell, William J. Me++: The Cyborg Self and the Networked City. Cambridge: MIT Press, 2003.
Last modified 13 September 2006