On November 23, I delivered the lecture “The Nature of Technologies. Technologies as Nature (Towards the Third Life)” in Maribor (Slovenia) at Kibla, Association for Culture and Education. The lecture takes place in the realm of the exhibition and the events related to the topic of “Soft Control – Art, Science and the Technological Unconscious”, curated by Dmitry Bulatov (director of the Museum of Kaliningrad), in occasion of Maribor European Cultural Capital 2012. I wrote about this lecture in a previous post, hereafter the image there is the foreword of my lecture.

Image Courtesy by Kibla


The Nature of Technologies. Technologies as Nature

All living creatures communicate, in many ways. They use the body and the senses in order to notify that they are enraged, hungry or ready for mating. Some species have a social life, with a continuous balance between the individual communication and the dynamics of the group.

Some ant colonies, for instance, form societies that can count millions of members and have complex social behaviours, like traffic management, public health efforts, agriculture and war, that is surprisingly similar to human wars as to tactic options, ways to attack and strategic decisions.

Image Courtesy by Kibla

Besides the similarities there are the peculiarities: humans have the symbolic ability, a very complex way to communicate through words, writings, images, sounds, both in direct and in mediated ways, synchronously and asynchronously, presently and remotely.

Image Courtesy by Kibla

But, from a more general viewpoint, the symbolic ability is far more than a mere tool for communicating. It is a very powerful technology, probably the main reason behind the evolution of the human species, the horizon that humans are staring at, as well as the cage they are living in. This acquisition is at the basis of the peculiar human attitude to invent technologies and create instruments, tools, machines, and even new future life forms.

[The whole lecture will be published in Noema]