100Cyborgs: 61-70

The Virtuous Cyborg - Cut-outWhat are the behavioural effects of technological networks? What happens if we stop thinking about technology as shiny machines and start looking at other, subtler tools? Can we design technology to have better effects upon humans? These and other questions are what this blog project, A Hundred Cyborgs, are all about. Here are the ten posts from 61 to 70:

    61. Surrogate Knowledge
    62. Phone Upgrades
    63. Phone Mazes
    64. Anti-paywalls
    65. Quality Forms 
    66. Media Libraries
    67. Abbatoirs
    68. Water
    69. Corporations
    70. Pause

There was a three month gap between the last block (#51-60) and these, but it was an even bigger gap for me as I wrote the Arcade Cyborgs during my 2019 trip to GDC, and had not written any for some time afterwards (because I was busy completing my tribute to Mike Singleton, Silk). That's why the first piece, #61 Surrogate Knowledge, is a kind of 'revision' of the themes of the serial as a whole. I was trying to put it back into its context.

I think the first one that I wrote in this block was actually #65 Quality Forms, which expresses my ongoing dissatisfaction with the way that mid-sized bureaucracies substitute paperwork that records minutiae for any attempt at good practices. I encounter this mostly in the university, which this piece has in its cross-hairs, but the problem is far wider. This set me off on a bureaucracy riff that led to the related pieces on #63 Phone Mazes and #64 Anti-paywalls, different ways for organisations to avoid dealing with people.

#67 Abbatoirs is my rebuttal to vegan advertising, which I feel is letting vegans down, and risks reducing a valid ethical choice to yet another BS marketing bullet point. As for #68 Water, I actually planned to write an entire block of ten pieces on water cyborgs - which would have been easy to do - but in the end didn't feel like it would add more than a single piece would. #69 Corporations is another of those pieces that reminds us that our desire to offload blame onto anything but ourselves is a key part of the mess we have created, while #70 Pause brought this block to a thematic end.

I am always interested in discussion, so feel free to raise comments either here (ideal for longer debates) or on Twitter (perfect for quick questions). And if you’ve enjoyed any of these pieces, please buy a copy of The Virtuous Cyborg and support my research into cybervirtue!

The final Cyborgs are coming this Summer!


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