Frightful Stories of Humans in a Technological World
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Within this thesis I will deconstruct the popular human/technology dichotomy that we see constructed and reflected in frightful stories about the future of humans in an increasingly technological world. Theories of identification, signification and imagination will explain how the technological imaginary can be understood as an important part of the discursive construction of the self. Within Western scientific and popular discourse, technology is often imagined as something external affecting human nature. When we imagine ourselves to be uniquely human, we will experience the ‘dehumanizing’ effects of invading, human-like technologies as a threat to our human nature. I argue that this conflict itself is a discursive construction based in false dichotomies including nature/culture, human/non-human, real/virtual, self/other and subject/object. By exploring the powerful, formative and political effects of the technological imaginary, I affirm the relevance of this research. We are all figments of materiality and of imagination and therefore never natural, or unalterable. I will critique the Western concept of a unified, autonomous and conscious self that is created from the reflection of the (technological) other and attempt to break with dichotomies and boundaries that have long legitimized power relations in Western history. By providing a technological understanding of human existence, this research will create room for revaluating the dominant ideas about what it means to be human in a technologized world.