Hayles Chapter 2

“Anthropologists have long recognized that humans have been biologically, psychologically, and socially shaped by there technologies, at least since Paleolithic times” (Hayles 47). Throughout Chapter 2 of the book, Electronic Literature written by N. Katherine Hayles, she talks about how the computer and the human are very similart, but yet very different. “Humans engineer computers and computers reengineer humans in systems bound together by recursive feedback and feedforward loops, with emergent complexities catalyzed by leaps between different media substrates and levels of complexity”(Hayles 48). We create the computers, but yet the computer resurrects the human race because of the complexity, and how the world is now in such a quandary of technology, that we cannot live without it in our daily lives. Hayles puts many examples, such as mathematical formulas and different softwares that make the computer run; she calls this “dynamic heterarchies and fluid analogies.” She also says within the beginning of the chapter that all works of literature come from the computer first. From digital files on the computer of the author of the book writing on their computer the book that will go into print. “…almost all print books are digital files before they become books”(Hayles 43). For me, I think Hayles is thinking that everything is going to be about computers in the days coming for the future. Everything will be digitial; maybe some books will be there still, but all things come from technology, even many books that are in print came from the computer before it went into a novel or a book. All in all, I am going to leave this with a quote from Hayles of how all literature will become digital in its own time and place, “Contemporary literature, and even more so the literary that extends and enfolds it, is computational”( Hayles 85).


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. ladybartleby
    Sep 05, 2012 @ 19:55:25

    “Humans engineer computers and computers reengineer humans”. What a strange thought…. I think you are quite right in putting emphasis on this point, computers shape us more than we think. We may have created computers and the possibilities they offer us, but in return their very existence has shaped our societies and individual lives!
    Hayles’ examples of the influence of technology on our world stayed mostly in the mechanical realm but even our day to day is dictated by computers. Think about it. We communicate in a vast array of ways through technology (facebook, text messaging, e-mail, phone calls, etc), computers monitor locations when someone calls 911, the sheer amount of appliances in our homes were engineered with the help of computers, and the GPS in the car that keeps me from getting lost. The list is endless.
    Computers shape how we think and our immediate reactions. Before computers and databases students went to the library and poured over dictionaries, journals, and other books; today we google everything. At a restaurant instead of figuring out tip money we reach for our cell phones and use the tip calculation function. Simply put, our minds don’t go to the same places that they used to.
    I love the technology that makes my life easier but I still believe in books and the importance of one on one interaction between humans. I may be old fashioned but I think there are some things technology just cannot replicate or replace.


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