Post-Human Network Symposium: Cybernetics and its Legacies

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The Post-Human Network invites all to participate in its annual symposium which is free of charge.

In Der Spiegel's famous interview with Martin Heidegger, he proclaimed that cybernetics is the new philosophy. Many decades later, Heidegger's pronouncement appears prescient. Our age is one of ubiquitous digital technology, media, and algorithm—one in which social relations are rendered as networks, intelligence and cognition are conceived in terms of information processing, and humanity is believed to be replicable as programmable 'artificially intelligent' machinery. While this new age precipitates utopian declarations of connectivity and democratization, there has also been continuous disquiet as to the social and political effects of the cybernetic orientation toward control.

How do we respond to the present 'posthuman' condition of cybernetic thought and system-building? Fearing the dystopian potential of a machinic future, Hayles calls on the next generation of scholars, activists, and artists to "contest for what the posthuman means." Some have answered this call by offering alternative visions of the posthuman that value both human and non-human futurity. Others embrace control society's cybernetic tendencies so as to germinate the accelerated decay of late capitalism. Is cybernetic control of humanity being achieved? Are machines, networks, and information necessarily enemies in fights for just, equitable, and sustainable futures? Can we envision or enact new intelligences, new networks, or new (post)humanities?

The Post-Human Network (PHuN or "Fun") is a collective of students and faculty based at Arizona State University. We engage with streams of 'post-humanist' thought and practice and seek to move beyond anthropocentrism in the academy and in society. Participants come from a number of disciplines across campus, including Arts Media and Engineering, Geography, and Literature. We aim to facilitate opportunities for collaborative study, creation, and experimentation. Our individual and collective production spans a variety of registers including, but not limited to, art, media, technoscience, urbanism, and design. Our work is influenced by areas of post-humanist thought such as vitalism, enactivism, process, new materialism, post-phenomenology, and systems theory.

The PHuN Symposium is generously supported by ASU's Center for Philosophical Technologies, Graduate and Professional Student Association, Department of English, School for the Future of Innovation and Society, School of International Letters and Cultures, and School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning.

Jonathan Bratt
Thursday-Saturday, Feb. 14-16, 2019
Multiple venues
Tempe campus
Free of charge and open to the public

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