Human Error: Species-Being and Media Machines by Dominic Pettman

By Dominic Pettman

What precisely is the human point setting apart people from animals and machines? the typical solutions that instantly come to mind—like artwork, empathy, or technology—fall aside less than shut inspection. Dominic Pettman argues that it's a mistake to outline such inflexible differences within the first position, and the main decisive “human mistakes” could be the ingrained impulse to appreciate ourselves basically not like our different worldly companions.

In Human Error, Pettman describes the 3 facets of the cybernetic triangle—human, animal, and machine—as a rubric for realizing key figures, texts, and websites the place our species-being is both strengthened or challenged by way of our courting to our personal narcissistic applied sciences. therefore, species-being has develop into a question of specious-being, during which the assumption of humanity isn't just a case of unsuitable identification yet certainly the error of identity.  Human Error boldly insists at the necessity of relinquishing our anthropomorphism but in addition at the severe trouble of doing so, given how deeply this angle is sure with all our different so much adored ideals approximately sorts of life.

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Using Eric Santner’s notion of “creaturely life” as a conceptual lens, I argue that the melancholy poetics that often accompany the subfield of media hauntology are still too anthropocentric, given the continued investment in human exceptionalism (albeit of an abject kind); rather the cybernetic interdependence of humans, animals, and machines should be fully acknowledged and appreciated to avoid the conflation of pathos with the human, thereby perpetuating Descartes’s (other) error: the assumption that animals and/or machines can react but not respond.

Of course, we should not blame Shakespeare for people like Tom Brook, who cannot see the world beyond their own noses and reflections. But we can blame, or at least point out the error, of people, such as Bloom, who have such an arch-humanist notion of the trickle-down effect of capital-C Culture. This cosmology responds to the challenge of nihilism by putting Man back in the center of things, as the Author of his own fate. This is a reassuring delusion. Shakespeare has merely rushed in to fill the vacuum left by the hasty departure of God.

44 All our most cherished grand narratives, he argues, are designed to disguise that we are really nothing more than Homo rapiens—an “exceptionally rapacious primate” (7), a “plague animal” (12). With a combination of acid wit, pithy put-downs, and erudite petulance, Gray flips through the catalog of human atrocities in a polemic designed to slap the humanoid mask from our animal faces and thus to jolt us out of our smug moral complacency. His pessimism runs so deep, however, that one wonders why he would bother delivering the slap in the first place since we are clearly a creature that does not learn from its mistakes.

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