Lookup NU author(s): Professor Rachel Armstrong
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This essay proposes that humans are in the midst of a cultural shift from the Industrial Age to an Ecological Era, which demands that one re-conceptualize the world and operate within it differently. It discusses the opportunities raised by Actor Network Theory (ANT) in helping one navigate the transition from an object- centred view of reality, towards one that also engages with process-oriented concepts. In particular, the impact of the convergence of these worldviews on technological innovation is explored through recognising a different material framework that engages with nonlinear systems. ANT offers a unique opportunity to deal with mat- ter at far from equilibrium through the notion of assemblages, which act as a new kind of operating system that behaves in remarkably lifelike ways. Empirical evidence is provided for such an ANT-based, production platform through laboratory findings in an emerging field of computation called ‘natural’ computing. A range of models and prototypes are discussed. The resultant lifelike technologies require unique infrastructures that facilitate the movement of elemental fabrics (earth, air, heat, water). While much evidence for their existence is propositional and qualitative, as they are in their earliest stages of development, these lifelike technologies have the potential to radically alter the impact of human development and transform it from being harmful to beneficial to the environment.
Author(s): Armstrong R
Publication type: Article
Publication status: Published
Journal: International Journal of Actor-Network Theory and Technological Innovation
Print publication date: 02/03/2015
Online publication date: 02/03/2015
Acceptance date: 30/01/2015
ISSN (print): 1942-535X
ISSN (electronic): 1942-5368
Publisher: IGI Global
URL: http://dx.doi.org/ 10.4018/IJANTTI.2015010103
Notes: This was an invited essay that is a first of its kind to position the technology of natural computing with the systems framework of actor network theory
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