Clarke’s Third Law

One of the first questions to ask about spirituality and technology is whether technology has an equivalent of the theological entity referred to as the spirit, soul, sentience, anima or consciousness. 

Philip K. Dick’s Do Android Dream of Electric Sheep and its film adaptation, Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner, explore the kinship between humans and machines. Among the questions explored in the texts are: What makes an entity human? Dick has devised his own version of the Turing Test – the Voigt Kampff machine, which measure pupil dilation and the emotion of particles from the body, as a measure of whether a being experiences empathy as a response to questions designed to evoke an emotional response. Can a machine experience love? Can a human love a machine? Explored in the relationship between a human and a Replicant (cyborg) who is not self-aware, i.e. she thinks she is human. Do we achieve a sense of purpose and meaning through our memories?

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Is technology an invasive species?

What are the limits to growth of educational technology? As explored in previous modules, educational technology is not neutral, nor is it somehow a happy medium between ‘part of the problem’ and ‘part of the solution.’ There are environmental implications of ET that tend to be marginalized or outside the normal scope of discussion.

In his 2007 keynote address at the Building Learning Communities conference, Dr. Zhao fittingly describes the birth of educational technology as a solution looking for a problem. This description fits the analogy of educational technology as an invasive species – one that alters the interrelationships of all organisms and subsystems within an ecosystem in order to survive and thrive.

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