“A Cyborg Manifesto” – Donna Haraway

My immediate reaction to Donna Haraway’s “Cyborg Manifesto” was that of complete perplexity. Her style of writing and language was hard to grasp, but throughout reading it, I seemed to be able to piece a few things together to get the big picture. The big picture mainly being, that the cyborg/human hybrid is and will be the next organism in overcoming racism, sexism etc. and destroying labels regarding gender, religion and history.

Now saying that, Haraway did only start writing this in 1983, and it was published by 1985 for the world to see, so to say she was a woman ahead of her time, is an understatement, as this women almost predicted the future. As a child who grew up in the Digital Age, it’s easy for me to comprehend that there would be such forms of Artificial Intelligence created, but it is peculiar to see such ideas being thought of back then.

I was confused as to what this whole cyborg idea had to do with socialist feminism, but Haraway makes it clear that cyborgs don’t judge each other based on ethnicity, beliefs ( feminism) or stereo-types. So to become a cyborg, means, to become acceptable to all, and this is the step forward that she wants us to take. Haraway’s belief of feminism is that it should be about equality , where both man and woman are equal, not the woman trying to seek a place higher than the man. Cyborgs, according to Haraway, think in terms of equality.

Although, I do have a concern with this. Haraway’s defines a cyborg as being ” a cybernetic organism, a hybrid of machine and organism, a creature of social reality as well as a creation of fiction”. The new age machines cannot be considered as just appearing artificial anymore. There is no boundary between natural and artificial. Cyborgs lose some aspects of what makes us human, and even she describes them as “monstrous”, leading us to believe that they could do more harm than good. The human traits that are removed, are removed to ensure control.

In this article I found on sexism in the world of AI, it describes how it’s mainly men are building AI’s, and the effect this will have won’t be a good one if we don’t have a woman’s input. It explains how Artificial Intelligence research has drifted from the focus of how technology can improve people’s lives. This is Haraway’s goal, but we seem to be straying from it. “Many women are driven by the desire to do work that benefits their communities, Men tend to be more interested in questions about algorithms and mathematical properties.” [Marie desJardins, 2015]

“Robotics and artificial intelligence don’t just need more women—they need more diversity across the board”  [Sarah Todd, 2015]

Inside the surprisingly sexist world of artificial intelligence – Sarah Todd, 2015.

Marie desJardins, a professor of computer science at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, whose research focuses on machine learning and intelligent decision-making.

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