This week Ally brought several interesting questions about the posthuman era, like what’s our imagination of the posthuman world or what’s the similarity and difference between the present and posthuman society. These questions exactly inspire me to think the situation we face today, especially the discussion about the example of the posthuman society—Irvine. I live in Irvine for several months and I am familiar with such society because of its similarity to my home town: both features the community and unity. However, to my astonishment, everyone in the class is anxious about the loss of individualism in such community. As a Chinese, I try to explain such what’s the distinction between the east and the west and what causes everyone to worry. I will share my personal experience in Irvine to offer different perspectives about this issue of posthuman society.
Different from other places where the independent houses scatter in the city, the houses in Irvine are mostly united communities. In the community, every house looks totally the same, well organized by the checkboard street system. They share with public facilities like parks, playgrounds, basketball courts, swimming pools, and even have the school system. People there are very united by several AI systems, especially the security system. Every house has monitors connected with phones in front of doors in case of any danger. If anyone is suspect, the pictures will be upload to the security system to alarm others. Moreover, when seeing people doing something immoral like ruining landscapes or disorganizing the house, the residence will post the picture to social media to warn others to follow the rule.
I think such a community meets the family and community value in Chinese society. Everyone is a unity, like the future posthuman society, controlling by a well- managed system. The moral control even makes people more human. however, it is a little bit scary because there is a real “Skynet” which supervising us every day. People have the promise of security and well-organized lives while lost privacy and freedom to some extent. After the class, it dawns on me that it is the dualism and dichotomy in western culture that makes people worry about the aftermath of post-human society. AI does connect our lives, just like the security and moral warning system, yet it will vandalize the individualism. Posthuman is always a double-sided sword. I have no idea whether it’s good or bad, but we should embrace more possibilities in future AI society and face the challenge it brings us.