The Posthuman at Work
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In this paper, I aim to describe and analyze the modus operandi of the ‘digital artisan’. Rather than provide an insight into specific professions, the paper focuses on common practices intrinsic to the use of digital media at work. The paper is divided into two parts. It begins with a brief outline of the principal shifts in posthumanist thought around the turn of the millennium. After touching on the technological milestones that mark digital developments and their evolution, I describe current scenarios embracing ubiquitousness and the Internet of Things. The first part concludes with an examination of current shifts towards a posthuman framework that have led us into a human–technology ‘ecosystem’. The second part looks at a similar description of technological advancements with regard to the specific context of labour and the workplace. It explores the three main models of posthumanism ‘at work’: automation, dematerialization and re-materialization. The re-materialization model corresponds to an ecosystem approach that has spawned the digital artisan. The paper goes on to outline some of the common characteristics of the human-technology relationship peculiar to the digital artisan: the prevalence of an exploratory way of working, which underlines the importance of errors, and an approach to learning best defined as ‘embodied cognition’.
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