We begin with a genealogy of a word and a working concept - the namesake of our discussion, “cybernetique”. The obscure origins of the word “cybernetic” is surprisingly highly relevant to our discussion today. The word as we know it comes from the Greek root “kybernan”, which means “to steer or pilot a ship” or “to direct”. Flowing from this root, in early 19th century France the word “cybernetique” meant “the art of governing.” It is in this sense we employ the term as a concept/metaphor for what we’ve observed in and around Cyberspace. At once a brave new world of possibilities, and a mere reflection of continuing and long-standing oppressions and global disparities, we maintain that the digital realm is at once a potential site for insurgency and a disciplining mechanism.
Suppose the following: You are in a room with a computer. Through this computer, you will interact with several entities that you do not know or cannot see. The only means by which you can communicate is through the computer. Through the asking of questions, your job is to determine the races of the entities whose answers are appearing on your screen. Where is the cyborg now?BILAL HASHMI:
But can the cyborg speak? How might language, for instance, figure into a debate dominated by questions over physicality and embodiment? Computer-mediated communication is always-already filtered through—indeed, governed by—multiple layers of language: first, by the semantic and syntactic rules of programming languages utilized by computers and applications, and then by the written, spoken and visual languages with which we communicate by way of text, sounds and images.FIN..