Humanist Boundaries in Posthuman Practice: Technology as Nonhuman Other

Alix Rübsaam | University of Amsterdam | Humanist Boundaries in Posthuman Practice: Technology as Nonhuman Other | Supervisors: Mireille Rosello & Murat Aydemir | 2015-2019

Posthumanism deals with borders that demarcate the human from the nonhuman, aims to decentre the human as the main actor of ratio and intelligence, and investigates the relation between the human (academic) subject and nonhuman actors. But what is the practice of Posthumanism? How does the concept become concrete? What are the possibilities and limitations of the theory? Questioning the boundary between the human and its other, Posthumanism encompasses both and risks reinforcing this boundary. Following posthuman thought, my research focuses on technology as a nonhuman actor besides, flowing from, the human. As a nonhuman site of distribution for human agency and cognition, technology is a posthuman practice. Technology augments the human into a posthuman subject that incorporates both nonhuman and human elements. This practice makes the location and limitations of the human subject fluid. However, parts of this posthuman practice evoke cultural resistance. Specifically, the discourse around the development of Artificial Intelligence and Autonomous Weaponised Robots reproduces and reinstates the boundary between the human and its other. Both technologies are categorised as nonhuman and even a threat to humanity. Here, technology highlights the discrepancy between the conceptual, theoretical side of Posthumanism and its practice in human augmentation.