31.10.08

objections

so i'm sitting in the lecture theatre yesterday, playing with the magnetic stylus for my touch phone, pushing and pulling it along the desk without touching it like i'm Uri fucking Geller and generally not paying attention to anything else. this important work for the cause of the betterment of humanity is interrupted halfway through the lecture by a terrified whisper of, "Lepht, what are you doing?" from one of my housemates, say D, who's sitting next to me. she's a great caring type, but cybernetics isn't her bag at all and turns out she didn't know i had the neodymium.

"Psychic powers," i tell her as seriously as i can, and give myself away with my usual i'm-not-lying-guv shiteating grin. when i showed her the scar on my fingertip, she twigged that it was another backstreet modification, and freaked. holy shit, do people around here hate the idea of implants. in D's case, it's 'unnatural'; but i get a lot of people who have a lot of weird reasons for telling me i should stop experimenting with these things. viz.

1. That's just disgusting/scary/weird.
i get this one most of all, and it's the one i understand the least. i can get that self-surgery would be disgusting to watch, or maybe even to think of, if you were a squeamy bastard. but why is it disgusting for me to have implants if you don't have to watch the surgery? are people with pacemakers and blood glucose meters disgusting? same with 'scary'. are you afraid of people with artificial legs? if not, why are you so scared of me, and if so, what the fuck is wrong with you?
as for 'weird', well, brand me with a W. of course it's considered weird before everyone's adopted it.

2. There's no point until you have (insert ridiculously advanced technology here).
i've talked about this one before. saying we shouldn't experiment with cybernetics until robot shells and cyberjacks have been invented is like saying that we shouldn't have experimented with canoes until nuclear-powered destroyers were around. we've got components, soldering guns and minds, what's the holdup?

3. You don't know what you're doing. You'll hurt yourself.
well, yeah, i probably would hurt myself if i just jumped in at the deep end of each project and went for self-surgery before i'd designed the systems. i'd also get a lot more work done a lot quicker if doctors could do all the surgery for me, but that ain't gonna happen, so i don't have an alternative. it's not a reason to stop, it's a reason to be really fucking careful and study the anatomy of an area properly before i site things.
and if i knew what i was doing, i wouldn't call it research, as they say.

4. You're going to lose your humanity and become a soulless robot.
demonstrate to me that i have a soul to lose and i'll accept your evidence that cybernetics will make me lose mine. you do have evidence of those things, right?

5. It's not natural.
neither is chemotherapy. next objection.

6. You're just an undergraduate.
yeah, i am. in fact, i'm an undergraduate repeating an entire year, and my grades aren't at the top of the class. but a degree doesn't magically confer the ability to do science, and if i can experiment now, why should i wait? if this means i can get some interesting system working two or three years earlier, what difference does it make whether i'm Lepht Anonym or Lepht Anonym, BSc?

i'll probably hear more than this before my career is over. i hope i do; it'd mean i got somewhere and did something worth criticising.

1 comment:

flesh_failure said...

Actually, I think most people are afraid of artificial limbs and such; they just feel obligated to hide any feelings of repulsion because such 'modifications' are considered medically necessary. It's the same as people feeling uncomfortable around retarded or disabled people, only your modifications don't fall into a category about which people are socially obligated to hide their reactions.

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