Interpassive User: Complicity and the Returns of Cybernetics

Interpassive User: Complicity and the Returns of Cybernetics

Svitlana Matviyenko

Abstract: This essay discusses the notions of “extension” and “prosthesis” as two different logics and modes of being with technology. I trace the two terms to the work of Marshall McLuhan, influenced by the work of Norbert Wiener and Buckminster Fuller. I argue that the logic of softwarisation  is similar to the logic of extension, while the logic of appification is similar to that of prosthesis. I argue that these logics also map onto the logics of metonymy and metaphor. I explain why such a distinction is useful for reading mobile apps and the computing practices they enable. I conclude by raising questions about users’ complicity within the bio-technological cybernetic assemblage: What does the user of these technologies want? Is she able to confront her desire through their use? Why is the demanding swarm of parasitic ‘media species’, such as apps, so determined to get under the user’s skin?

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One response to “Interpassive User: Complicity and the Returns of Cybernetics

  1. thanks for this I can see making use of this analysis of aspects of our alienation without needing to collapse all of the different (and often competing) players into some grand system (even China which has a great deal of actual integration and some serious investments in AI there is more threat than grand info-architecture), also on my reading list:
    https://www.academia.edu/35189682/The_Inhuman_and_the_Automaton_Exploitation_and_the_Exploited_in_the_Era_of_Late_Capitalism

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