Technological Nature: Adaptation and the Future of Human Life
Peter H. Kahn Jr.
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
Our forebears may have had a close connection with the natural world, but increasingly we experience technological nature. Children come of age watching digital nature programs on television. They inhabit virtual lands in digital games. And they play with robotic animals, purchased at big box stores. Until a few years ago, hunters could "telehunt"—shoot and kill animals in Texas from a computer anywhere in the world via a Web interface. Does it matter that much of our experience with nature is mediated and augmented by technology? In Technological Nature, Peter Kahn argues that it does, and shows how it affects our well-being.
Kahn describes his investigations of children's and adults' experiences of cutting-edge technological nature. He and his team installed "technological nature windows" (50-inch plasma screens showing high-definition broadcasts of real-time local nature views) in inside offices on his university campus and assessed the physiological and psychological effects on viewers. He studied children’s and adults' relationships with the robotic dog AIBO (including possible benefits for children with autism). And he studied online "telegardening" (a pastoral alternative to "telehunting").
Kahn's studies show that in terms of human well-being technological nature is better than no nature, but not as good as actual nature. We should develop and use technological nature as a bonus on life, not as its substitute, and re-envision what is beautiful and fulfilling and often wild in essence in our relationship with the natural world.
well their design supported the user experience of informed consent. Their assessment instruments for informed consent also drew from and later provided guidance to their conceptual investigation. For example, during one of the initial empirical investigations, Friedman et al. discovered that users wanted to control cookies with only minimal distraction from their task at hand. This finding not only contributed to the technical designs described above (which incorporated peripheral awareness and
said. ‘They’re just . . . they just live here’” (p. 48). Faber offers us an instantiation of technological nature: a technological nature window that transforms the ugly view of urban blight into a beautiful experience of nature outside one’s domicile. The view is not a recorded video but actual nature displayed in real time. If the geese decide to land or fly away, that is what Jeanette will see. The sun rises and transects the skyline in accord with the season’s trajectories and daily
position of applying them systematically to this domain of inquiry. Thoughts about Windows As noted earlier, after the completion of the physiological part of this study, we engaged each participant in a semistructured interview about their judgments and reasoning about window environments. The interviews lasted about fifty minutes. We transcribed each interview, and then developed a system for coding the qualitative data. In what follows, I highlight some of the general trends. It is worth
is very good and it’s a very safe way to look at what’s going on in the world.” Finally, given the importance that Barbara placed on global awareness and visual access to remote locations, it is noteworthy that she judged the local scene as a little more important than a remote scene: “I think these two—the Grand Canyon and [the fountain plaza] are my favorites. Probably [the fountain plaza] more than anything just because it’s where 72 Chapter 5 Figure 5.2 Barbara in her office with the
particular, with large amounts of body mass, could be overcome on especially scorching days by a runner who kept at him mile after mile. The runner could not match the eland for speed, for the eland sprints at 35 miles an hour. But eventually, after many hours of being chased in the heat, the eland overheats and can run no 4 Chapter 1 more. “Then the hunter, with the last of his strength, can catch up and grab him by the tail, then kill him with a spear if he brought one, or he can push the