Techneology or the Discourse of Speed by David Wills Notes:
(237) “Technology is generally related to either reduced labour, increased speed or both.”
Technology is created in order to save us time and labour. Will discusses throughout his paper the consequences of the creation of technology that is focused primarily on speed.
(237)“It seems more and more clear that the desire to reduce labor has been sacrificed at the atlar of speed, giving birth to an increasingly universal class of Web or e-mail slaves more laboriously time-constrained than ever and whole state of mechanical prosthetic stricture is structurally no different – through economic and ergonomic differences increase exponentially –“
The desire for faster and more efficient technology has in effect created individuals who are actually ironically more time-constrained than ever. Humans have become slaves to their web browsers and e-mails.
(238)“Speed gives rise to the distance that motivates and configures every anti-technological nostalgia – what might be called, in the context of this discussion. “If there had been no railway to conquer distances, my child would never have left his native town and I should need no telephone to hear his voice;..”
Technology is created to solve problems, but in solving these problems it creates new ones. Thus, creating a need for new technology. This creates a feed-back loop that never ends. We can also see this passage as an example of differance, where technology instead of solving problems/issues, it continually defers problems rather than solves them.
(238)“ Distinciation, alienation, Verfremdung, ostranenie: All imply a too rapid movement into otherness, a displacement fast enough to reveal a rupture, and this displacement has been the dominating theme of discussions of technology at least since the advent of the industrial revolution”
The speed of technology travels so fast that it displaces us into alienation and pushes us into otherness. The speed of technology also moves so quickly that we do not have the time to realize the negative effects it has upon us.
(238)“I relate to neoligsm, a neologisitc effect that, I argue is perhaps the only means by which we can articulate the mutations of digital technology and await, as we seem to be more and more, the monstrous birth of some future mutation, the artificial intelligence or biotechnologies of our most fascinating and awful science fictive imaginings”
Neologism is the invention of a new word. Wills applies the concept of neologism to technology. He suggests reinventing our conception of digital technology is the only way in which we can discuss the negative effects of technology and biotechnology. Biotechnology according to Wills is an inherent fear in humans.
(239) L’homme est cet accident d’autombilite que provoque une panne d’essence.’
The direct translation of this quote in English is, “Man is this accident of automobility caused by a default of essence [une panne de’essence, a ‘lack of fuel’ an ‘empty tank’]. This sentence is a pun that plays on the word essence. Essence in French relates to the essence of an artefact and it also means a lack of fuel. In English this sentence loses its ethos, as essence does not have this double meaning. Wills uses this sentence as an example of language mutating and travelling at the speed of light.
(239) “Language itself mutates at the speed of light by means of a whole range of displacement effects whose paradigm is this essential logic that is perhaps no longer simply of that of techne in the strict sense, no longer tech-neo-logism in the purest sense”
Since, Language mutates and evolves at the speed of light, it displaces meaning. Here in this passage, Wills suggests that language is no longer a techne that is left to its own devices. Language is also being effected by other technologies. By placing neologism and technology together, Wills is asking us to reinvent technology and reinvent our idea of language.
(240) “Stiegler skirts but ignores a particularly linguistic configuration of that structure of coincidence and that is our most eloquent if not our most obvious technological moment and commentary or rather mise en scene of the speed that is technics as it coincides disjunctively or disjointedly with time”
Wills suggests that Stiegler ignores that speed disjoins time, which indicates that there is no “real time.”
(241)“Language becomes indissociable from the technicity and prostheticity: “it must be thought with them, like them, in them, or from the same origin as theirs: from within their mutual essence”
Language is technical and as well as prosthetic.
(241)Stiegler emphasizes a first function of technology in its mythological origins- namely, it’s compensating for a forgetting, a fault or default
Technology is always related to memory, it is always created to compensate for forgetting, a fault or default. Thus memory has always been technical.
(241)“The upright hominid stance inscribes a definition of the human that is utterly determined by the idea of exteriorisation, the hand reaching outside the body to enter into a prosthetic relation with a tool, the mouth producing or adopting the prosthetic device that is language. As a result, the archive is born, the human species begins to develop a memory bank, and its relation to time begins to catalogued by means of the traces of an artificial memory – the artefact, the narrative.
When the human moves into the upright stance, it begins to externalize memories by creating tools, creating language etc. Thus from the moment, we become human, we begin to archive memories. A memory bank is created from this archivation. The narrative is also born as humans begin to catalogue and externalize themselves through artefacts.
(241)Whereby each helped the other to evolve, is now more explicitly a negotiation by the human of its technical outside, and an investment in forms of exterior memory that will continue all the way to the computer revolution of the end of the twentieth century
The sentence, “ whereby each helped the other to evolve” refers to technology and man. In the past, both technology and humans coevolved together. Now, the human must negotiate the terms of its relationship with technology as well other forms of external memory. Wills also predicts more sophisticated forms of externalizing memory will continue in the future.
(243) “Humans graduate from simple pain and suffering to conceptual knowledge and anticipation of death itself: “compassion is mediacy, whereas the feeling of death is anticipation, mediacy, preoccupation, projection of a singular and particularizable future, differentiation inequality in the fall into time”
Prior to the invention of time, humans only experience simple pain and suffering. By creating the invention of time, humans become acutely aware of their own deaths because they have become aware of the future.
(243-244)“Temporality is technological inasmuch as it is or the fundamental form of exteriorization of the human memory: the temporality of the human, which marks it off among other living beings, presupposes exteriorisation and prostheticity: there is time only because memory is artificial”
Time exists only because we have created memory. In order to access memory, time must be created. Wills suggests that the invention of time separates us from other living creatures and that the invention of time occurs before exteriorisation and prostheticity.
(245)“Speed reinforces the effect of a displacement in space that takes place In time: the faster it occurs, the shorter the time and the greater the displacement” (245)
The faster technology moves and the shorter amount of time it takes to evolve, the greater the effects are on us and the more we are unaware of these effects.
(245) “First predictably the body loses its soul” (245)
Because the speed of technology moves too quickly it creates/reveals ruptures, it also tears the body away from the soul.
(245-246)-“A body that is lost to itself thus described on the one hand as travelling too fast over too great a distance and losing its “contact” with the points of reference that define its behavior and its identity – with other bodies in a restricted community or with identifiable and familiar places within its earthly home”
A human loses its soul because the speed of technology displaces us into alienation, thereby isolating us from other individuals in society. It also strips an individual’s own personal identity. This again invites us to look at differance in terms of speed, in which our souls are being displaced/deferred by technology.
(246)“In the context of speed that disjoins the body, we must interpret this accident as a crash out of the human and into technology”
Wills tries to talk about humans and technology as two different entities. The displacement that speed causes the body to lose its soul, thus we no longer become human but we instead become technologic. This sentence is problematic because Wills argues that we are in fact technical beings from the start, yet, at the same time he tries to separate humans from technology.
(249) “If exactness is a constant structure but between writing and photograph, what has improved is less the form of realism than the speed of the recording process..”
Technology is more or less concentrated on the speed of technology rather than the realistic aspects.
(249) “The Disjunction of memory that therefore occurs with the photography by virtue its very “instantaneity” (a disjunction that is already reminiscent of the time of technology in all the variants discussed up to this point)”
Memory becomes disjunctive (disjoined) once a photograph is taken. For example, when a photo is taken, that picture captures a moment that has already passed. The memory is dead/gone. In that sense, technology is always disjunctive because the moment is always delayed, differed.
(253) “This produces “hundreds of millions of consciousness” that are simultaneously “consciousness” of the same temporal objects” the live diffusion and production of mass temporal objects constitutive of a flux of mass consciousness.”
The formulaic techniques of Hollywood films (montage etc) controls our imagination, creating a mass consciousness that is shared by hundreds of millions of other people.
(254) “We must however, specify that real time is but infinitely deferred time, taking place at a speed such differentiation passes below the level of perception.”
Because of the disjunctive nature of time created by technology, there is no such thing as real time, rather time is always deferred. The speed at which time is differed is so minuet that we cannot even perceive the deferral of time.
(254-255) “Whereas, we also know on the other hand [that] it is being produced by the strongest, the most sophisticated repetition machines..”
Thus what is being produced is not technology that runs on real time but really sophisticated repetitive machines. “Live television” is thus not live but rather a repetition of what is being recorded.
(255) “And the benefits of technologies and therefore economic advance are inequality distributed in the extreme..”
Technology creates economical disparity.
A reference to real time that does not systematically disjoin it – that does not emphasize that time is always there already disjointed by the technological and that every effect of the technological is always already disjointed by time, progressive acceleration notwithstanding (256)
Time always becomes disjointed by technology, time is always being constantly deferred. Technological, itself, is also disjointed by time.
(256) Stiegler is right to call for differance to be rethought in terms of speed, something that Derrida reinforces: far from favouring: “delay, neutralization, suspension,” far from attenuating the political and ethical urgency of the present, differance refers to what cannot be anticipated, “precipitation itself”
Speed should be rethought in terms of differance. Since, the speed of technology is a type of differance, that constantly displaces (differs) us and technologies, meaning is loss. We cannot anticipate what will occur because we do not have the time to process the effects technologies has on us. Thus, only precipitation can be anticipated.
(257)” Lanuage is tehnology’s mode d’emploi, the medium of philosophical and other discourses on it, the remobilization of terms and the invention of neologisms (warp and morph) that name it, and so on. Language can be seen thus both to serve and be served by technology but still within an instrumentalist perspective.”
Language is the means in which technologies, philosophy and discourses are employed. Language serves technology and can be served by technology, meaning language changes technology and technology changes it. In that sense, technology and language share a Saussurian relationship that is similar to language and speech.
(257-258)“Language- like the body, like time- is one of the technologies with which humans are most familiar. It is familiar enough not even to be experienced as technology. When the most obviously instrumental technologies – everything from the simplest tool to today’s high technologies – interfere with language, it is experienced as a threat almost as menacing as the biotechnological engineering of the human itself”
Language is so familiar to us that we do not perceive language as a technology, we share the same perception of time. Wills asks us to acknowledge that language is being endangered due to emerging technologies. The threat to language is almost as frightening as biotechnological engineering.
(257) “The notion that apprenticeship in language will take on quite different forms. That is already underway thanks to spell and grammar checks and the automatic correction, formatting and so on that word processors perform without asking..”
Language is being warped/changed by technology because of spell and grammar checks, automatic correction etc.
(257) “Just as we are rapidly forgetting penmanship, we can easily imagine future generations that will not need to learn how to spell, form plurals, conjugate verbs, obey the conjugate verbs, obey the sequence of tenses and so on.”
Wills suggests that technology is eliminating the complexity of language because of this, we will eventually in the future no longer need to learn how to spell, form plurals, conjugate verbs etc.