Notions #6 – Ancient Cyborgs

Some notions, every week. Here are some:

Cyborgs Are Old News

Cyborgs are already here! Since at least the 13th Century CE and the invention of glasses, humans have been cyborgs. Potentially, that stretches back into prehistory and the invention of writing if we take ideas about extended mind seriously (which I definitely do) – and what about an ancient hunter with weapons and tools slung about their body, within easy reach, transforming them from a squishy apesnack to an apex predator?

Consider how remarkably high-tech a well-made spear was in its day – let alone an engineering feat like a bow and arrow. Imagine the first creatures (or other humans) coming face-to-face with these slight figure who, with a single movement of their arm, could bring down a lion. Who, working together, could subdue a mammoth. Wouldn’t they have seemed like a new species?



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Homo technicus is not a future possibility, but an ancient reality. The question we have to ask is not whether humans and technology will integrate; this process has been happening for millennia. The question we have to ask is this: as we expand what it means to be human further and faster than ever before, will we become transhuman or inhuman?

Corporate Culture: Slavery with a Smile

My work contract includes the following clause:

Que what now?

I queried this and was informed that, yes, it means I am contractually obliged to work for free whenever management deems it a good idea or my workload (which is set from above) necessitates it. But don’t worry, I was told, it’s standard practice these days.

Now, last I checked, working without pay at the behest of someone in a position of power over you is slavery. Personally, I have completely ignored this part of my contract. I will only follow it if asked to do so, in writing and explicitly, just to have a paper trail. Standard practice, I should think. But plenty of my co-workers stay at the office well past close-of-business, then go home and work more, and often work on weekends.

Also important


Australia is supposed to be a democratic country made up of equals. Which means if you ask me to work for you, you fucking pay me. If, however, an employer can ask you to work without pay at their discretion, then we should be able to not-work for pay at our discretion. To even things out. Otherwise, it’s slavery.

So, take that extra hour for lunch and feel no guilt! The company doesn’t love you and, if you’re not being paid for your labour, you owe it less than nothing.

Does Reality Care about Logic?

Many physicists claim that time travel must be impossible – despite that fact that nothing in the laws of physics forbids it – simply because it would result in paradoxes, such as:

This is the future that time travellers want


Tina goes back in time and teaches a young Joni Mitchell how to play guitar after learning her style perfectly from her records. Joni grows up and uses what she learned to create those same records, which Tina later hears and uses to teach Joni her own style. Where did the style come from?

The problem with ruling out time travel based on such paradoxes is that it is a purely faith-based intellectual move. We actually have no evidence that reality cares, at a fundamental level, about making sense to humans.




Time Travel, Annah Stevens


. . .

Got any notions of your own or notions about my notions? Put your notions in the notion-box below or, if the notion strikes you, swing me a like!

You can read last week’s Notions here

The image used for all these posts is artwork from a Magic: the Gathering card called ‘Horde of Notions‘. It’s beautiful.

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