The Imaginaries of Merging Mind and Machine
The future is an open space that relies on our ability to imagine alternatives to the present, formulate hopes and anticipate dangerous developments. Despite conventional wisdom, imagination is not the work of individual geniuses but a social practice being shaped by socially shared imaginaries. This becomes obvious when studying the history of technofutures and the visions around current emerging technologies.
This paper examines the imaginaries of the neurointerface. It is about what is imagined when it comes to the impact of this new technological gadget, how meaning is attributed to the technology, what narratives this device holds and what our hopes and fears for the future with such a technology say about us. It explores the functions and meanings associated with the neurointerface and how it is imagined changing our society in the future.
Following a genealogical approach, the study looks for patterns, parallels, and presumptions diffusing through different contexts and discourses and merging in the art of Science-Fiction. Science-Fiction, understood as collective repository of sociotechnical imaginaries, becomes the focal point for our imagination of techno-enhanced futures, particularly of various forms of man-machine-interactions. As technofutures, these stories do not only feed on our social imaginaries but also form what we perceive as ‘future’ on a cultural level affecting the way we imagine the becoming of emerging technologies.
Since it matters, what futures we use to think futures with, reflecting on these imaginaries becomes crucial. This paper offers insight into a hermeneutic approach to deconstruct images of the future in popular culture.