Cyborgs in an Augmented World. Towards the Deconstruction of Dualistic Thinking in the 21st Century
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The increasing ubiquity of computer technology and the advent of social networking websites have created a new fusion of the physical and the digital world. This technological shift has given rise to a discussion in new media research, calling for the necessity of a new framework in the study of the human-technology relationship. This framework should reject the preservation of the dualistic thinking which has dominated our understanding of this relationship, since the first traces of the involvement of machines into our lives. This thesis seeks to contribute to this discussion by showing that a new perception towards technology is already apparent in recent science fiction texts on the merging of human and digital technology. Indicative narratives from novels and films of the late 20th century are compared with corresponding texts produced since the beginning of the present decade, in order to show this shift which has taken place in our technological imaginary. The findings from this comparative analysis are then related to the earlier theories of posthumanist criticism of the 1990s, which had called for the construction of a new figuration of the posthuman, which recognises our cyborg nature as hybrids of human and machine. It is argued that this figuration is appearing today in contemporary popular culture and this intensifies the necessity for the construction of a new framework which uses as a starting point the acknowledgement that we are already cyborgs in a world which combines the offline and the online, the digital and the physical: an augmented world.