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In contemporary history, advanced technologies have become important areas of argument and discussion as they are intricately connected to our development and survivability. World War II gave rise to numerous new technologies, and later the United States Defense Department’s interest contributed to the discovery and invention of various technological advancements. Since the midtwentieth century, the impact of technology on society has raised serious questions about the transformation of humans and societies in the face of technological apartheid. Philosophers from different backgrounds have written about these transformations and their challenges to existing society.
The overall impact of technological progress has affected every aspect of our lives, with the focus being on the individuality of humans. The term posthumanism is a subject of debate, emerging alongside the development of new techniques and the integration of digital and electronic installations in our surroundings and even within our bodies. This transformation of technological developments is shaping a “New-Human”.
The representation of humans as cyborgs is influenced by machines, but it also reflects the changes in human mechanisms brought about by artificial medicine. The relationship between technological existence and human existence determines the importance of technical objects and the concept of individuation. The representation of technological societies, the mechanisms of economy and bureaucracy, urban development, and the utilization of human labor led to a broader understanding of cybernetics.
In the realm of cybernetics, the identification of humans and the emergence of the idea of transhumanism have diminished the significance of representation and individuation. The importance of machines, networks, technology, cities, and the amalgamation and assemblage of these elements is responsible for changing the characterization of humans. The progression of technology raises questions about our past, and humans are responsible for determining the knowledge they seek. Artificial Intelligence has become a topic of recent dialogue. While humans have managed to overcome many challenges and threats, the question remains as to whether we can collectively deal with them. The use of technology for destructive purposes always poses a threat, and it is crucial to understand the essence of advanced technology. This paper will emphasize the essence of technical objects and how we approach their individuation. It aims to understand the epistemology of technology in our contemporary systematic societies.
One of the main challenges is understanding who governs technology and whether we are mere subjects of their experiments. How can nations and individuals navigate these configurations, especially in a world where technological capitalism (resembling techno-feudalism) benefits specific nations and peoples? Technology impacts every aspect of our lives, but debates about technological colonialism persist. Technocracy poses a challenge as exciting technologies are controlled by technocrats.
This paper aims to present a philosophical framework through which the phenomenological identities of “Human” and “Being” can be constructed and deconstructed, considering certain terms and the ongoing metamorphosis of the New-Human and New-Being. This paper aims to analyze the works of various philosophers who examine into the epistemology of technology and its impact on the existence of human beings. In the contemporary period, advanced technologies have a profound impact, creating challenges regarding their role and control in society.
Keywords: Advanced Technology; Epistemology; Cybernetics; Technological Society; Humanism
This paper enquires into the concept of technology and its profound impact on human existence. It explores the signs of progress throughout different periods and epochs, highlighting the connection between these advancements and various forms of technology. The focus lies in understanding how technological progress influences all aspects of development and how humans have characterized these changes using different terms.
In the contemporary context, technology has become an inseparable part of human life, extending its influence in various domains. Artificial Intelligence (AI) is concerned with creating intelligent machines that can think and act like humans.1 Innovation, as a powerful force, can impact and reshape any aspect of society. Computers and Information technology, in particular, have been a key driver of development and progress.2
The paper aims to present the current developments in technology and how modernization, machines, cybernetics, and other technological advancements have transformed the way we live. It emphasizes the integration of concepts with technology and its impression on human existence. Throughout history, intellectuals and philosophers have reflected on the developmental process of society through different technological constructions, such as the German philosopher like, Oswald Spengler who comments that the Western industry has diverted the ancient traditions of other Cultures.3 Walter Benjamin admitted that the destructiveness of war furnishes proof that society has not been mature enough to incorporate technology as its organ and that technology has not been sufficiently developed to cope with the elemental forces of society.4 Martin Heidegger puts it as the threat to man does not come in the first instance from the potentially lethal machines and apparatus of technology. The actual threat has already affected man in his essence.5
At the turn of the twentieth century, the relationship between humans and machines was a significant theme in literature and cinema, exploring the alienation caused by technology. Movies like “Metropolis” (1927), by Fritz Lang and novels like “The Time Machine” (1895), by H.G. Wells, and “Brave New World” (1932), by Aldous Huxley serve as prime examples of this reflection.
Different American and European philosopher has interpreted the progresses in society and comes up with different terms. The remarkable reflection on both the history of technology and its effects on modern societies is described by Levis Mumford, American philosopher of technology, architectural critique historian, and modern visionary. Techniques and Civilization, (1934), provides a radical transformation of the environment and the routine of life and the dominating role played by technics in modern civilization. Ancient and middle civilizations’ knowledge was based on an empirical basis. Later concerns with Western European were based on physical science, and took place for the capabilities of the machine-industrial revolution.
Ihab Hassan explores the cultural and literary understanding of humanism. Thomas Kuhn presents the paradigm shift in sciences where technology played a vital role in the emergence of new science. Norbert Wiener presents the concept of cybernetics which is the science of communication as it relates to living things and machines. Bernard Stiegler highlights the role of Automation in industrial capitalism. Paul Virilio explores the dominion of techno-science, cyber war, and new information technologies. Deleuze and Guattari consider the assemblage theory, where cybernetics and machines are entwined with scientific and biological definitions.
In his book “What Technology Wants,” (2011) Kevin Kelly introduces the concept of the “technium” – a global interconnected system of technology. This encompasses everything from hardware to culture, art, and intangibles like software and philosophy. It inspires us to create more tools, invent technologies, and build self-enhancing connections. Val Dusek’s “Philosophy of Technology: An Introduction” (2006) explores the connection between the philosophy of science, recent developments, and the philosophy of technology. It covers definitions of technology, introduces technocracy, and discusses historical philosophies. The book also examines various rationality perspectives: formal, instrumental, economic, and transcendental.
The main objective of this paper is to emphasize the importance of advanced technologies and their influence on society. It raises concerns about how advanced technology enables control over celestial bodies beyond our planet, benefiting humanity, but also poses potential threats to the existence of living things on Earth. To achieve this goal, the paper will present specific headings that allow for contemplation of technology’s impact, particularly when it significantly affects societies, urging critical reflections on its developments and disadvantages.
The field of the epistemology of technology is of utmost significance as it encompasses the knowledge, emergence, justification, and dissemination of technology throughout various historical periods. This branch of study explores the essence and importance of technology in our lives, establishing meaningful connections and understanding its impact. The epistemology of technology is influenced by a multitude of factors. However, this specific discussion will not explore those factors. Instead, the focus is on analyzing shifts in technology, offering a personal perspective constructed through the use of various headings.
The nineteenth century was a pivotal period that laid the foundation for modern technology as we know it today. It witnessed significant advancements in transportation, construction, manufacturing, and communication technologies primarily in Europe. Moreover, as the century drew to a close, it ushered in rapid developments in chemical, electrical, petroleum, and various other fields.
The subsequent twentieth century can be rightly called the “Age of Technology,” particularly in the Western world. However, this technological progress also had far-reaching consequences, leading to the outbreak of two world wars. One of the defining aspects of this era was the mass production of automobiles, commercial goods, and industrial products, profoundly shaping people’s lives and giving rise to various industries. Energy and engine technologies played a crucial role during this time, revolutionizing access to natural resources. This situation is constantly repeated everywhere, in all relations of modern man to technology. Technology is entrenched in our history.6
Numerous technological advancements emerged during the twentieth century, each leaving a significant impact. Key milestones include electricity, computation, microscopes, rocket technology, nuclear power, mechanized agriculture, vaccinations, cell phones, printing, optical networking, and the internet. These innovations not only changed human life but also had profound implications on theoretical discourse. Clearly, in the first group, the median term is invention, while in the second it is innovation. In other words, in the first type of connection technology is the driving force, while in the second it is the economy.7
Unlike in the past, the transition from invention to innovation has become remarkably faster today, encompassing not just technical aspects but also financial and social considerations. The compatibility between different systems is a critical aspect that needs to be addressed as we continue to make advancements. Technology itself is a social process in which individuals and groups always make choices.8 Overall, the nineteenth and twentieth centuries have been remarkable periods of technological evolution, reshaping human understanding and society at large. The lofty discourse of technology tells us that speed is our access to paradise.9 The continuous drive for progress ensures that we are witnessing a transformative era of unprecedented innovation and change.10
The twenty-first century has been marked by a remarkable influx of technologies that were introduced in the late twentieth century. These technological advancements have set this century apart, giving rise to numerous challenges while also ushering in a constant stream of innovations. Among the transformative technologies that have emerged are quantum computers, gene therapy, 3D printing, nanotechnology, biotechnology, scramjet engines, drones, augmented reality, wireless power devices, artificial intelligence, and many more. This world of the distraction diversion or perversion of humanity by technology culminates in adoration, veneration, and beatification, in the expression of a properly religious sentiment.11
In the realm of understanding technology’s realization, Gilbert Simondon’s insightful definitions hold particular significance as he focuses on grasping the essence of technical objects. His renowned work, “On the Mode of Existence of Technical Objects,” lays out the genesis of these objects, encompassing their various levels ranging from elements to individuals and ensembles. Simondon highlights that a perfected technical object attains individualization, wherein each structure becomes pure-functional and overdetermined. In such a state, each structure not only serves as an organ but also embodies a body, a milieu, and a foundation for other structures. The systematic compatibility within these objects takes shape much like an axiomatic system, and every element not only fulfills its specific function within the ensemble but also contributes to the overall functioning of the whole.
Moreover, Simondon inspects into the essence and alienation of technical objects, stressing the need to comprehend their true nature to diminish technological alienation. This reduction can be achieved by introducing a representation and scale of values that align with the essence of technical objects, thereby enabling a better understanding of their place within culture.
Interestingly, Simondon contrasts the treatment of aesthetic objects with that of technical objects. While the former has often been deemed suitable material for philosophical reflection, the latter has typically been studied directly only about its practical aspects, such as its role as an economic reality, a working instrument, or a consumable commodity.
This highlights a prevalent oversight in acknowledging the full scope of technical objects as more than mere instruments. Understanding and appreciating their deeper significance in culture can lead to a richer and more meaningful interaction between humans and technology. By recognizing technical objects not solely as utilitarian tools but as complex entities with intrinsic value, we can foster a more profound connection and reduce the alienation that may arise from an incomplete understanding of their essence. Embracing this perspective can help pave the way for a more harmonious integration of technology into the human experience. The most powerful cause of alienation in the contemporary world resides in this misunderstanding of the machine, which is not an alienation caused by the machine, but by the non-knowledge of its nature and its essence, by way of its absence from the world of significations, and its omission from the table of values and concepts that make up culture.12
The concept of individuality and specificity within the realm of technical objects, as well as their evolutionary process, are central themes in Simondon’s philosophical perspective. As a philosopher, scientist, and engineer, Simondon articulates a clear definition of a technical object and its functioning. Through his exploration of the connections surrounding the technical object, it becomes evident that he possesses a profound concern for understanding its nature and implications.
Cybernetics is a new science. It originated in 1948 with the publication, simultaneously in France and the United States, of the book by prominent mathematician Norbert Wiener, entitled Cybernetics or Control and Communication in the Animal and the Machine. However, cybernetics as a science had its predecessor in the theory of servo-mechanisms. Servo-mechanism in technique is a device that serves to control a technical process: a machine or a set of machines, electrical equipment, etc.13 In Norbert Wiener’s discussion of technological creations and their impact, he emphasizes the role of cybernetics in control, communication, digital advancements, robotics, and Artificial Intelligence. Cybernetics, with its all-encompassing concept and representation of complex systems, becomes a focal point for Norbert. He investigates into computational, scientific, and biotechnological developments, examining their significance. The discussions also center around the relationship between humans and machines, which is marked by various complexities. Two key formations emerge from this relationship: the transformation of humans through their interaction with machines, and the capacity to control cybernetics as humans engage with it, ultimately influencing its effects.
The idea of transformation arises as a crucial question, particularly considering the everchanging representation and presence of humans in the context of posthumanism. This prompts a deeper exploration of how technologies are utilized and their necessity in our lives. The computer has had a profound impact on various fields, including mathematics, and has close ties to the concept of cybernetics. Computers are extensively utilized for automatic calculations and information processing. The advancement of computer capabilities has given rise to two key aspects of cybernetics. Firstly, it defines the science of controlling complex systems of diverse natures. Secondly, cybernetics finds application in generating control systems for technology as well as living organisms.
The concept of Cybernetics has evolved through several distinct waves. The first wave, spanning from 1948 to 1960, primarily explored the similarities between regulatory feedback processes in biological and technological systems. In the second wave, which gained prominence from the 1960s onwards, the focus of cybernetics shifted away from technology and delved into social, ecological, and philosophical concerns. Then, in the third wave, starting from the 1990s and continuing to the present, there has been a renewed interest in cybernetics from various perspectives. Notably, early cybernetic research on artificial neural networks has regained significance as a paradigm in the fields of machine learning and artificial intelligence. The progression of cybernetics through these waves showcases its dynamic nature and its ability to adapt to the changing intellectual landscape.
During World War II, significant technological advancements had a profound impact on the war and played a crucial role in shaping the modern world. Technologies such as nuclear technology, computing, electronics, aerospace, radar and sonar systems, medical advancements, and telecommunications were instrumental during the war and continue to influence us today, even in peacetime. Following the conclusion of World War II, a prolonged rivalry emerged between the Soviet Union and America, spanning several decades. This period was characterized by intense competition and rivalry across various fields, including technology and scientific research. Each side sought to gain an advantage over the other, leading to the development of numerous technologies. Some key areas of development during this era included the Space and Nuclear arms race, advancements in computer technology, spacecraft technology, military technologies, and espionage and intelligence gathering.
The technologies that emerged during this period not only showcased the ingenuity of human innovation but also created a sense of both competition and threat between the two superpowers. The ongoing race for technological supremacy influenced global dynamics and contributed to significant advancements in various industries. As a result, the legacies of World War II and the subsequent Cold War continue to shape our present-day technological landscape and have far-reaching implications for our interconnected world.
A cyborg is a cybernetic organism, a hybrid of machine and organism, a creature of social reality and fiction. The cyborg is our ontology; it gives us our politics. The cyborg is a condensed image of both imagination and material reality, the two joined centers structuring any possibility of historical transformation.14
In “A Cyborg Manifesto,” Donna Haraway challenges the idea of fixed boundaries separating humanity from technology. She posits that as we increasingly rely on technology, the lines between humans and machines have blurred significantly. Haraway suggests that the integration of technology into our lives is so extensive that attempting to separate the two is futile. Instead, she encourages embracing the concept of cyborgs as an integral part of human identity, emphasizing that our dependence on advanced machines and technology should not be feared but embraced.
Despite her enthusiasm for embracing technological advancements, Haraway also acknowledges some concerns. She raises questions about the contradictions surrounding scientific objectivity and the ethical implications of technological evolution. She points out that scientific accounts of the world can have political consequences, potentially influencing societal power dynamics and decision-making processes.
In essence, Haraway’s “A Cyborg Manifesto” challenges traditional views of the relationship between humans and technology, urging us to acknowledge and accept the deep intertwining of these elements in our lives. While celebrating the benefits of technology, she also reminds us of the importance of critical thinking and ethical considerations in shaping the future of technological advancements.
The development of information technology has become a significant factor in connecting the economy. Several key advancements have driven the information age, such as transistors, optical amplifiers, and Unix time. Speaking of the information age characterizes the present era, defined by the widespread availability, access, and utilization of information and communication technologies (ICT). This period has experienced an unprecedented data explosion, fueled by the rapid advancements in computing, telecommunications, and the internet. The information age initially emerged in the late 20th century and has continued to evolve into the 21st century.
The digital revolution marks a pivotal shift from mechanical and analog electronics to digital electronics. Its economic impact has been far-reaching. For instance, without the World Wide Web (WWW), phenomena like globalization and outsourcing wouldn’t be nearly as feasible as they are today. The digital revolution and the information age are closely intertwined, signifying the profound and rapid changes brought about by digital technologies. This encompasses a wide range of innovations, including computers, smartphones, digital media, cloud computing, and the Internet of Things (IoT).
In summary, the development of information technology has played a crucial role in linking the economy with technological advancements. The information age, characterized by the abundant availability of ICT, has led to an unparalleled growth of data. Simultaneously, the digital revolution, driven by digital electronics, has significantly impacted the economy, enabling global connectivity and transformation across various industries and sectors.
In his renowned work, “Prometheus as Performer: Toward a Posthumanist Culture,” Ihab Hassan introduces the character ‘Text’ in Scene Four, The Future of Vitruvian, where an essential realization emerges. It becomes clear that the human form, encompassing human desires and all its external representations, is undergoing a profound transformation, necessitating a reexamination. Over five centuries, humanism has held sway, but now, it is on the cusp of evolving into an indescribable state, which can only be termed posthumanism.15 This seminal text urges us to grasp the significance of this transition and acknowledge that the foundations of humanism might be nearing an end. In the wake of this transformation, we are faced with the daunting task of understanding and embracing the emergent posthumanist era, where the relationship between humans and technology will undoubtedly shape the future of our culture and society.
The concept of post-humanity is enriched by the ideas put forth by Rosi Braidotti, a prominent post-modern philosopher. Her texts research into the notion of posthuman characterization, particularly through the lenses of the cyborg and becoming-animal.
According to Braidotti, the term “posthuman” serves as both a historical marker of our current condition and a theoretical representation. It is not merely a bleak, dystopian vision of the future but rather a defining characteristic of our contemporary era. The posthuman is an ongoing process, a dynamic and evolving concept. It functions as a working hypothesis that explores the nature of the subjects we are evolving into.
However, the question arises: Who does this “we” refer to? How do we maintain openness, multiplicity, and non-hierarchical structures within this collective posthuman identity? These are vital considerations in understanding the implications and potential of post-humanity. Braidotti’s insights encourage us to reflect on the complex and ever-changing nature of humanity as it intersects with technology, challenging us to embrace diversity and remain receptive to the diverse possibilities that the posthuman condition presents.16
In the context of defining the diverse developmental impacts on human beings, several aspects need consideration. The notion of post-humanity remains an enigma, encompassing various interpretations. Firstly, the progression of technological advancements remains uncertain, leaving us uncertain of its potential effects on humanity. Secondly, humans are agents of change, subject to evolving designations and designations. Lastly, questions persist regarding the global accessibility of technological progress, as disparities exist in different regions. The characterization of humans in this context continues to be a subject of debate in academic and intellectual discourses.
In the article titled “Posthuman, All Too Human: Towards a New Process Ontology” (2006), Rosi Braidotti reflects on the works of Donna Haraway and Gilles Deleuze. Braidotti categorizes Haraway’s work as “high post-humanism,” which examines into the definition of the cyborg in the context of the high-technology world of informatics and telecommunications. On the other hand, Deleuze’s concept of “becoming-animal” represents a radical anti-anthropocentric view, offering a way to envision the humanoid hybrids that we are evolving into. According to Braidotti, the hyper-reality of the nomadic or cyborg post-human condition does not negate the importance of politics or the need for political resistance. Instead, it emphasizes the necessity of working towards a radical redefinition of political action in this ever-changing landscape.17 We’re discussing altars and an alchemical, transhumanist apocalypse. Here, altars extend beyond churches; Earth becomes the preparatory altar, mankind the sacrifice, and the process resembles alchemy. Despite the context of “modern” science, the goals and agendas discussed aren’t inherently modern.18
Real-time technologies have become a crucial component of modern digital construction. These technologies encompass systems and applications that swiftly process and deliver information, enabling users to access and respond to data instantly or with minimal delay. “Realtime technology” refers to technology designed for computer systems that closely interact with ongoing changes in the external world. It can be viewed as a universal approach for creating systems that are seamlessly integrated with natural phenomena.19 Their integration into daily activities has steadily increased, influencing various domains such as Communication and Collaboration, Social media, Information Sharing, the Internet of Things (IoT), Smart Devices, Transportation, and Navigation, among others. The evolving role of real-time technologies is driven by the growing demand for immediate access to information and services. As technology continues to progress, real-time capabilities will play an even more vital role in shaping how we interact with data, conduct business, and perceive the world around us.
Moreover, contemporary technologies complement the discussion on real-time technologies, defining the current landscape of technological advancement, while simultaneously paving the way for innovations. These contemporary technologies stem from ongoing developments in science and technology, leaving a significant impact on every aspect of our lives. The latest innovations and technological advancements spark continuous discourse, as we closely monitor how they can potentially transform us. Among the most influential present technologies are Artificial Intelligence (AI), 5G Technology, Blockchain, Quantum Computing, Robotics, Biometrics, and security systems, among others. These cutting-edge technologies not only exert a powerful influence on society but also ignite ongoing debates on how they will shape our civilization’s future.
About the above headlines, we come to describe that the narrative of technological evolution spans from the 19th century to the 21st century, leaving an indelible mark on human history. The 19th century set the stage for modern technology, introducing advancements in various sectors, while the 20th century emerged as the “Age of Technology,” reshaping industries, influencing wars, and sparking innovation. The transition from invention to innovation gained momentum, driven by factors beyond just technology, and culminated in our transformative era of unprecedented change.
The 21st century is defined by an influx of transformative technologies from the late 20th century, bringing both challenges and innovations. Amid these transformations, the philosophy of posthumanism comes into focus, questioning the traditional humanist perspective and emphasizing the intricate relationship between humans and technology. Rosi Braidotti’s insights reveal the ongoing process of posthumanism, urging us to navigate the complexities of this evolving identity.
In parallel, the concept of real-time technology emerges as a pivotal force in modern construction and digital progress. Rapid access to information through real-time systems shapes various domains, from communication to navigation, marking a shift in how we engage with data and services. The journey from historical foundations to contemporary innovations underscores the symbiotic relationship between humans and technology, urging us to embrace change, contemplate ethics, and strive for harmonious integration of innovation into our lives.
Humanity is currently undergoing a transformative process, with inventions and innovations revolutionizing every aspect of our lives. One crucial aspect of this transformation is our living conditions, which are closely intertwined with the strengthening of economic structures. Philosophical interpretations explore the historical analysis and techniques behind these changes and how they have influenced us.
As society advances through various inventions and innovations, we have become increasingly intertwined with nature, recognizing it as a supreme force. We have learned to engage with and replicate nature, exemplified by our creation of robots and machines. These creations have allowed us to access and exploit natural resources for our benefit. However, this also raises existential and metaphysical questions about our relationship with the natural world, as we create systems that sometimes oppose the natural order.
The development of machinery, such as automobiles, has sparked debates about dominance. Lewis Munford’s statement, “We are not dominating them, but they are dominating us,” raises profound reflections on our interactions with machines. Today we are in the information age and in the data age where human intelligence is transferred to machines, know the concerns are not the information dominating us, but the machine learning and intelligence dominating us.
In the present age, mobile and internet technologies have significantly impacted and manipulated people. A thorough research and survey are necessary to understand the extent of their influence. It is evident that certain technology companies have benefited from this influence, and nation-states have owned them and manipulated the people, shaping our perspectives and behaviors. In these cases, against the machine intelligence intimidations and challenges, how the existing technologies are used in border perspectives is also a serious concern. If we have to find the essence of technology, we should not use it in a negative way as it will respond in that way, which means have to make it more beneficial as much as we can.
This paper aims to construct a comprehensive view of technology and its various impacts, exploring how different constructions have emerged and influenced our lives. Additionally, it explores philosophical discourses that shed light on our evolving relationship with technology and the broader world. By critically analyzing the impact of advanced technologies on human existence, we gain insight into the profound changes we are all experiencing.
For the past two centuries, the Western world has witnessed a profound change in the scientific and technological revolution, exerting its influence over global affairs. Its supremacy has led to spending more on defense technology and these latest defense technologies survive as a medium diplomatic tool between developed countries and developing countries. This dominance has sparked multifaceted discussions on the far-reaching impacts of technology. With the rise of techno-science society in the West, fundamental questions about the essence of humanity have emerged, prompting numerous experiments aimed at reshaping our understanding of ourselves. Intellectuals and philosophers have expressed both admiration for the achievements of technology and concern over its potential negative consequences. This complex interplay of perspectives continues to shape the discourse surrounding the impact of technology on our lives and society as a whole.
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