Project #159029 - The Singularity, or techno-narcissism?

General Tutors

Subject General
Due By (Pacific Time) 12/07/2016 12:00 am


The Singularity, or techno-narcissism?

JAMES HOWARD KUNSTLER& RAY KURZWEIL – “The Dangers of Techno Narcissism...”, from his book Too Much Magic.

Kunstler argues that our obsession with technology has turned into what he calls 'techno narcissism', encapsulated in the theories of futurist Ray Kurzweil. You've all heard the term 'narcissist', or 'narcissism', which is commonly understood as someone who is self-obsessed. It is based off of the Greek myth of Narcissus.

Watch a few of Kurzweil's TED talks to get an idea of his plans for the technological future of super-human man-machines, which he calls 'The Singularity'. Feel free to watch Kunstler's TED talk 'How Bad Architecture Wrecked Cities' to get a better idea of his form of criticism as you read his work.

BLACK MIRROR – The Entire History of You, and “Snow”, a short-story by John Crowley. Watch this incredible episode of the British series of speculative fiction, Black Mirror and read and enjoy the short story Snow, by John Crowley, which paints a similar future of recording technology and panopticism (Note that this episode may be available in better quality on Netflix). I also recommend the episodes Nosedive, and The Waldo Moment. Feel free to write about these episodes if you like.

This week I’d like you to respond to one, two, or all three of the following questions. Follow the usual guidelines for writing assignments found on the syllabus.

1) Do you agree with Kunstler or Kurzweil about our relationship to technology? Be sure to summarize their arguments and counter-arguments in your own words as you explain why you take one side over the other.

2) Is social media, as discussed in Generation Like, the social as spectacle? In what sense is social media a form of techno-narcissism? (be sure to clarify these terms as you use them).

3) If you had the opportunity to live in a society that adopted technology like the grain or the wasp,--i.e. Technology that would allow you to recall any moment of your life--would you? In what way do cell phones and social media already organize our social and personal lives in ways similar to these stories? In other words, what are some of the social implications that we face due to our technology? Are we suffering from some form of techno-narcissism? 


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