I have no idea if we’re news or not, but Tuscaloosa (my sweet home University of Alabama) was hit by a devestating tornado yesterday evening.
University operations have been suspended indefinitely, and final exams next week have been cancelled. It’s like a scene from a disaster movie (and the city looks like it). Someone–either an illiterate fundamentalist (I’m sure we have our share of those) or an ironic hipster (and those)–chalked “Revelator” and “Is this God’s punish?” on the plaza this morning. While the campus (all but a chink of Bryant Denny Stadium) is intact, off-campus student housing was hit hard, displaced students are camping in the Rec Center, and My Dear Charlie’s out volunteering to clean up the city. Meanwhile, I’m camping at one of my awesome prof’s house with a bunch of classmates, hitching on his power and wireless.
But this is a science fiction blog, so the point is this: when the electricity and Internet went out on campus at 5:30-ish yesterday afternoon, we college students loss half of our brains.
I realize it’s not the Singularity yet, but we kind of are living in a world of augmented reality. You know, the definition of “Cyborg” is actually looser than one might expect:
It ain’t fiction no more now, kids.
Anyone who uses the Internet on a regular basis–for communication, socialization, entertainment, work or study–has extended their biological capacities using technology. My memory is on my hard drive and in the cloud; all the research I’ve done, a whole lot of the things I’ve said to friends, the plans I’ve made are embedded in the cyber-infrastructure of the webmind. It’s both terrifying and friggin awesome.
I’m fortunate to be uninjured and unscathed, along with my friends and family, but what little loss we’re suffering on campus (power, Internet) makes me think about how much of ourselves we’ve put into our technology. You know me better than to think I’m going to go on some “back to nature!” rant, and I’m totally not even hinting at that. All I’m saying is that it just struck me yesterday: we’re all cyborgs now.