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Response to Virilio, Open Sky pt. 2

Paging Dr. Nanobot! In the future, tiny robots small enough to fit into our bloodstream could help to remove blood clots, treat diseased tissue, and maintain our bodily functions. Part man, part machine! Part 2 of Paul Virilio’s Open Sky starts out with a discussion of the transplantation revolution, the idea that machines will be assisting with functions inside our body as well as outside it. It’s already happening, as scientists have grown a kidney in the lab just this week. Soon, we may be able to replace all sorts of body parts just like upgrading our computers. Virilio predicts that in the future, we may be able to embed a machine into our bodies that will allow us to act at a distance like the DataGlove or the DataSuit. Google Glass is a close contender, allowing us to interact with the environment in a whole new way, but it isn’t directly wired into your optic nerve. Virilio says that there are three intervals that are used to define acting at a distance:

  1. Space: geometric development and control of the physical environment. Innovations such as the car, the train, and mounted animals such as the horse and the mule are examples of this.
  2. Time: control of the physical environment and the invention of communication tools. Letters, telephones, TV, radio.
  3. Light: instantaneous control of microprocessor environment. Today’s modern computers that rely on the speed of light to send their signals.

As a human society, we’ve got a pretty firm grasp on all three of these intervals, and as technology advances, we’re not only obliterating the concept of distance, the interval of space, but we’re also miniaturizing our technology as well. Virilio says that less is more in today’s society, and that few human interactions are required to do a lot of tasks that had once to be done manually. With a push of a button, we can lower our blinds, turn on a light, lock our doors, change the channel on a TV, and automate our entire house without getting up from our chairs. We’re now well on our way to automating the last remaining tasks we still need to do, injecting robots into our blood stream to maintain our body without us needing to do anything.


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