2.0 Web porous, digitally umbilical

Samuel Cartoon New Yorker framed
As we become increasingly tethered to the web, it might be a good idea to ask some questions about the relationship we have with it, what the future nature of the digital human might be and how our species might change.

Digital technology and bionic engineering are altering some of the most fundamental assumptions we now hold about the human condition and the relationship humans have with technology.

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The digital world is becoming vital to us. There is a porous, ubiquitous, almost umbilical connection that we now have with it.

We are being encoded, forging a primal, vital, umbilical relationship based on a need for nutrients. These nutrients include access to information and resources, friendship and social connection, the human need to be validated and to belong.

It’s harder to conceive how we can might develop these needs in the future without the access to technology. And the need for these nutrients makes it possible for us to be exploited.

Today we are all children of the web, shaped and moulded by the experiences it provides us. What it teaches us. How it makes us behave.

It’s hard to be sure of the possible consequences of being involved with code when the wired world feeds and nurtures the digital human being in such a way that a chromosome can now store data more densely than a hard drive.

Understanding the nature of this relationship with technology and shaping it proactively is a crucial part of an emergent code. It is the ‘softer ware’ that nourishes us as humans.

We are creating a bio-feedback loop between ourselves and code and the responsiveness of that loop will shape us.

In these early days of digital civilisation we still, arguably, have an infantile relationship with digital technology, one that is unquestioning and dependent. But as our own traditional ideas of genetics break down, the digital world might even challenge parental connection as a primary care-giver.

Our synthesis with code encourages us to think about where we are in terms of developing digital-enabled awareness as an extended network, wired up and connected, one family, one world. This is already the age of the extended family and three-person parent. Switched on parents open up Twitter accounts for their children the moment they’re born with names chosen that are not yet taken so they have a chance of being unique.

Emergent code focuses on this, charting what might be the psychology and physiology that constitutes a maturing relationship with digital technology. It explores digital connectivity from a sociological, behavioural and economic perspective, and notions of belonging online as a wired species.