The Battle for Our Body and Behaviour
By RINIE VAN EST
Technology is nestling itself within us and between us, has knowledge about us and can act just like us.
In us: think of brain implants, artificial balancing organs and bio-cultured heart valves. Technology therefore becomes a part of our bodies and our identities. Technology places itself between us on a large scale; we use the social media to show ourselves to the outside world, to contact and communicate with each other. Technology collects information about us; smart cameras are able to measure our heart rate by looking at our skin and, when pointed at a woman’s face it can tell whether she is fertile – something she may not even realize herself. The Dutch supermarket giant Albert Heijn stores our buying behaviors in databases, Dutch railways store our travel behaviors, and public authorities store behaviors of children and parents through ‘Electronic Child Dossiers’. In the public space, cameras ensure that we are well behaved. And finally, some technologies behave ‘just like us’: they get human traits, exhibit intelligent behavior or touch us with their outward appearances. Chatbots become more lifelike, computer games more realistic and all kinds of apps are happy to encourage you when you are running or going on a diet.
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