Infants recognize themselves in mirror or other symbolic contraption which induces apperception from the age of about six months to eighteen months, which is considered first stage of self-recognization. (Lacan, 1953) When an infant subject sees their reflection in a mirror at first, the subject in fact doesn’t recognize oneself as “I” but as the “other”. For them, their image is a succession of phantasies that extend from a fragmented body-image to a form of its totality.” This misrecognition (seeing an ideal-I where there is a fragmented, chaotic body) subsequently “characterizes “I” in all its structures. For example, in the movie The Matrix, the character, Neo looks at the fragmented body-image in a broken mirror before awaking from digital world. It seems to symbolize this fragmented reflection connects with unknown identity. Every single body enables to show several information because of different personality, appearance, culture, nationality and ideology… etc. French phenomenological philosopher Maurice Merleau-Ponty has written, Human body reflects consciousness as existence of being in world which truly spiritually connects ‘I’ with the environment. (Merleau-Ponty and Smith, 1945) Body subject is interwoven with interpersonal relationship, environment and everything to be unique. As through the way of seeing human body, it enables to recall that the existence of self-recognization, to express the feeling and changing of metal and physical status, to represent the unconsciousness of ‘I’ or ‘ghost’. As the twenty-first century a new spatiality is revealing possibilities beyond previously known physical limitations, technology is simultaneously challenging our identity by creating machines with human characteristics.What does it mean to be human when technology is changing everything?
Growing up in 90s with huge technological change, I am able to put several perspectives into the issue of technological change and figure out individual identity and human identity for a new relationship between technology, me and living surrounding.
# What Does It Mean To Be A Human?
In order to answer the question, it has to be defined what makes human being different than others entities which enable to identify the boundary of human and non-human. People recognize Human has a significant difference than other species through language speaking, tool using and logical thinking…etc. With new technological advances, many new technological techniques can be used to analyze the behavior of various species so that people can understand better the society of others species. As an American computational scientist Tom Gruber once said in TED talks:”As machine get smarter, we get smarter.” (Gruber, 2017) A smart componential machine enables to compute several information to present complicated result in the short term which means people can find a much more efficient way to convey information. On the other hand, the technological growth of cyber-technology, which is technique of artificial super-intelligence, has a significant impact on human identity and human value. It brings many assumptions of issues nowadays which causes people to be scared of the future. As Ray Kurzweil has written, the invention of artificial super-intelligence (ASI) might abruptly trigger runaway technological growth, resulting in unfathomable changes to human civilization which calls “Technological singularity” in the future (Kurzweil. 2005) Even a feminist writer Donna J. Haraway’s incisive metaphor of the cyborg point out that, “the machine is us,” and in the novels of Rudy Rucker(Haraway, 1994), a human is only a “meat machine” or hardware in which “the soul is the software, you know.” Whatever it may be call—personality, individuality, self, soul, character, and “apart from the biological species Homo sapiens we classify ourselves, we have never been human.”(Haraway, 1944) It is no doubt that technology is challenging the human identity. What does it mean to be human when technology is changing everything?
Just as there are many parts of human subject embodied as a human being, remarkable composites of human characteristics are presented to be “I”. A face is what distinguishes you from others. A voice you know yourself. The hand you see when you awaken. The memory that recalls childhood, and the subject plans for the future. There is the expanse of the database connecting with my cyber-brain. All of that goes into making me be “I”, giving the rise to a consciousness that I call “Self”. (Ghost in the shell, 1995)
Ghost in the shell is the title of a Japanese graphic novel (manga) and the animated film (anime) based on the phrase ghost in the machine. Both include a discussion of just how many prostheses or synthetic components may be added to a human and how much intelligence or emotion may be programmed into a cyborg before any real distinction between the two cease to exist. (Sobieszek, 1999) The same question motivates the essay here, which explores how defining the human has become an increasingly elusive undertaking, complicated by the very machines we have used to document our efforts. Japanese animation, Ghost in the Shell, 1995, is revealing possibilities beyond previously known physical limitations and in it the embodied human subject was partnering with Cyber-Technology, which disconnects from the templates of fleshly experience in the future. Beyond the limitation of physiological function, the brain of human being enables to be replaced by cyber-brain which receives diverse information from internet in the future 2029. Are the human characteristics able to identify an entity as human? Where in the brain is the self, I or ghost?
As the cyborg character explains the concept of human identity. The subject who enables to have thought and have self consciousness is the key of human identity, Self. “I think therefore I am.” (Descartes, 1637) Rene Descartes analyzed that the subject with thinking ability doesn’t origin from physical action so the self origin in fact comes from mind rather than brain. Ghosts, dead relatives, spiritual apparition, auras, mind, and energy field have been described and photographed in many ways. However, contemporary philosophers and scientists have rejected Mind-body dualism though Mind-body problem which is a philosophical problem concerning the relationship between thought and consciousness in human mind, and the brain as part of the physical body. It is distinct from the question of how mind and body function chemically and physiologically since that question presupposes an interactionist account of mind-body relations. (Robert, 1996)
@ Ghost In The Machine
British philosopher Gilbert Ryle has argued the concept of mind as a criticism of René Descartes. Descartes believed in dualism, the idea that the human mind is not physical, that it exists independently of the human brain. Ryle described this idea as ghost in the machine.For example, a freshman student could walk around all of the buildings in a campus and after that ask where the the university is. But in fact the university is a general name which is made up by all of the departments and buildings in the campus. This dichotomy is similar to just as you can explain a neuron of the human brain, but can not answer the questions of consciousness. He believed that human consciousness and mind are very dependent on the human brain. Thus, mind, ghost or soul works as the result of cerebrum rather than an organ as brain and cerebellum. As Ryle has emphasized, it means that mental activity is of a different category from physical action, and that their means of interaction are unknown.(Ryle, 2009)
The term ghost in the machine has come to also describe the supposed consciousness in a device that behaves as if it has a will that is independent of what the human operator wants the device to do. Computer programmers have appropriated the term ghost in the machine to explain when a programs runs contrary to their expectations. The idiom ghost in the machine is a metaphor, which is a comparison that is made figuratively.
@ Origination of Consciousness
Where does consciousness begin, and where does it end? Who can draw the line? Is not everything interwoven with everything? (Sobieszek, 1999)
Even though the types of consciousness have different categories in philosophy, psychology and Neuroscience, it was classified in three levels by Alain Morin. (Morin, 2006.)
The first one is called phenomenal consciousness which presents directly the feeling, what it is like ness. The consciousness is called perception by philosophers, which is presented subjective experience by all sensors, such as seeing, listening, hearing, smelling and touching. Second one is called reflective consciousness which enables to organize present thinking and past experience for species with abilities of solving problem, learning knowledge and planning. Third, self-consciousness, self-cognition or Self which is human presenting themselves being in world. Self consciousness includes three parts, which are one’s own acts or states as belonging to or originating in oneself: aware of oneself as an individual and aware of one’s own physical and metal activities. It is not only the consciousness and reflection of the human brain on the subject itself, but also the development of human beings is inseparable from the surrounding environment, especially the relationship between people interacting with each other. Therefore, self-consciousness is also the relationship between people and environment.
we are always looking at the relation between things and ourselves.(Berger, 1972)
: Does Cyber-Technology enable to have its own self-consciousness as human being?
The Mystery of Consciousness (Searle, 1997), John Searle presents a new type of argument to explain his famous “Chinese Room Argument.” For example, there is a person sitting in a room with two different windows for receiving messenges and sending information. The person only handles every information by operation manual then responses the answer. However, the person just follows the operation manual to make standard answer, and can not understand the meaning of every information. This argument originally appeared in 1980 and has been discussed for more than 20 years. However, whether the argument is persuasive or not may still be a controversial problem. John Searle explained programs are entirely syntactical, but Minds have a semantics. Syntax is not the same as, nor by itself sufficient for, semantics. therefore, programs are not minds.
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