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Experimental Anthropology

In exper­i­men­tal archae­ol­o­gy, we could for instance try to make the kind of shoes that our hunter-gatherer ances­tors might have had, and test how long they last in use.

But what if we are inter­est­ed in com­plete­ly dif­fer­ent kinds of ques­tions. Like, did they have rules for whom you’re allowed to have sex with? How did they raise their kids? We could always look at exist­ing hunter-gatherer cul­tures and guess that the cul­ture might have been sim­i­lar. But could we attempt to test our hypothe­ses, some­way?

Cyborg Anthropology and the Evaporation of the Interface

When you look at your online pro­file, is that real­ly you? It’s a rep­re­sen­ta­tion of you that can be act­ed on when you’re not there. But where do you end and the machine begins? The thing is that humans and tech­nol­o­gy have coe­volved with each oth­er over time, being very very cocre­ative. We have sur­vived because of tech­nol­o­gy, and tech­nol­o­gy has sur­vived because of us.

The Conversation #19 — Joseph Tainter

I see a set of con­straints fac­ing us in the future, and they’re all going to be very expen­sive. First is fund­ing retire­ments for the Baby Boom gen­er­a­tion. Second is con­tin­u­ing increas­es in the costs of health­care. The third is replac­ing decay­ing infra­struc­ture. The fourth is adapt­ing to cli­mate change and repair­ing envi­ron­men­tal dam­age. The fifth is devel­op­ing new sources of ener­gy. The sixth is what I see as in all like­li­hood con­tin­u­ing high mil­i­tary costs. The sev­enth is the costs of inno­va­tion.

The Conversation #14 — John Zerzan

I always won­der about peo­ple that are very pro-tech on the Left, for exam­ple. Oh, we’ve got to keep all this. Of course. That’d be crazy.” You know, you want to pre­serve all of the lev­el of tech­nol­o­gy. The ques­tion that occurs to me is, oh so you want to keep how many hun­dreds of mil­lions of peo­ple in the mines, in the smelters, in the foundries, in the assem­bly lines? I would like to see them be able to do some­thing else. But you’re going to have to keep them there one way or anoth­er if you want to have all this stuff.

Seeing Eternity in a Daffodil: Making Robots, Making Life

In this talk I want to sug­gest that it’s nev­er quite as sim­ple as to say there is tech­nol­o­gy and there is art. That there is tech­nol­o­gy and there is cul­ture. Clearly these things have always been in dia­logue and are still. So this means this is a sto­ry about art and tech­nol­o­gy.

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