Drop the word “cyborg,” and most casual conversations will take a jarring turn toward Star Trek, Terminator, or Battlestar Galactica, where beastly human-machine hybrids threaten to take over the world.
But that’s not what cyborg means anymore — at least not to Amber Case and organizers of two upcoming CyborgCamps: one happening this weekend in Seattle (it’s not too late to snag a last-minute ticket) and another in Portland from Nov. 2-4 (already sold out).
“Every time you look at a computer screen and interact with any piece of technology, you’re a cyborg,” Case told GeekWire. “You’re in a symbiotic relationship with a computer.”
Not buying the notion that you (yes, you) are a cyborg? Here’s how Case breaks it down an overview of what cyborg anthropology is all about:
Cyborg Anthropology is the study of the interaction between humans and computers, and how the capabilities of our bodies are extended externally and uploaded into hypertext. We are all Cyborgs. Increasingly, we are purchasing and discarding extensions to our selves. We’re also becoming an interface culture. How we interact with machines and technology in many ways defines who we are. Cyborg Anthropology is a lens with which to understand what’s happening to us in a world mediated by dynamic objects, processes and change.
The shape of a site’s architecture makes people move, and the flow of people shapes how a site transforms over time. Profiles and avatars allow users to represent themselves asynchronously — that is, they are another extension of connection and etiquette that can be optimized or used poorly. These extensions of presence allow people to be accessed when they aren’t even there. Each of us is becoming a celebrity cyborg; a famous machine.
Case is CEO and founder of Geoloqui, which helps mobile developers integrate, track and measure their users’ location data. She’s one of three main speakers on the lineup in Seattle. The two others: Mike Merrill, a guy who sells stock in himself at KMikeyM.com; and Kyle Drake, a Geoloqui platform engineer and expert on cryptocurrency — think digital forms of currency like Bitcoin.
The rest of CyborgCamp is billed as an “unconference.” The goal: to spark unscripted, deep-thought-provoking discussions about how technology is changing the way we communicate, make money, have fun, everything.
There will also be an info session about how to enter a $1,000 DIY cyborg prize for wearable cyborg devices.
To find out more, check out the CyborgCamp Seattle site.
Homepage image courtesy of Mark Coleman