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Title: Cyborg Ontology and Politics in Intelligent Nation Singapore
Keywords: 2015, intelligent nation, singapore, new media, cyborg, politics
Issue Date: 12-Jan-2010
Citation: SOH SEOK KEIM SHIRLEY (2010-01-12). Cyborg Ontology and Politics in Intelligent Nation Singapore. ScholarBank@NUS Repository.
Abstract: With its history inextricably linked with technology since independence, Singapore makes an excellent study of the cyborg phenomenon. The cyborg, which describes a cybernetic organism that is a hybrid of machine and organism, originally referred to an enhanced human being who could survive in extreme environments. Transforming Singapore into an intelligent nation has become a nationalist project as well as a personal responsibility for its people. While ICT policies promote the inevitable cyborgian path for Singapore?s future, there are concerns and issues that could be unravelling their intended outcomes. The `Intelligent Nation 2015? master plan, or iN2015, Singapore?s latest ICT policy, markets the promise of empowerment in a digital future for everyone; a rhetoric clearly shifting from one of survival and crisis management to that of technotopia. The thesis argues that cyborgisation under iN2015 is driven by the technologically possible and desirable with consequences that are contradictory to its aspirations of a digital future that is empowering for all. Employing Donna Haraway?s ?A Cyborg Manifesto?, the thesis hopes to uncover the ontology and politics of new technology adopted by iN2015 that is speeding up the cyborgisation process in intelligent nation Singapore. Haraway?s cyborg is both oppositional and utopian; it holds promises and hopes, as well as dangers and threats. While iN2015 sees the cyborg as a technologically enhanced state that is desirable, Haraway?s cyborg in contrast provides a platform for examining the productive tensions and possibilities between the technological and the organic in our relationship to new technology. Paul Virilio?s chronopolitics drawn from his study of speed in history called dromology will be discussed for its relevance on how speed has become the main driver of technological innovation and a source of capital and power. Gillian Youngs? political economy approach has also been enlisted to provide an insight into areas affected by new technology, particularly, on power and inequality. The iN2015 vision will be closely examined to uncover what cyborg body/bodies are being produced in intelligent nation Singapore, and how they relate to social reality defined as lived social relations. The cyborg future in 2015 necessitates a form of technological citizenship that obliges citizens to be technologically knowledgeable to the extent of being mainly media savvy users and consumers of new technology. The iN2015 cyborg ends up being one-dimensional, its promise of empowerment driven mainly by consumption, while living a life in technicity addicted to speed, constant innovation, and the hyperreal. Finally, if new technology is more fraught with the politics of growing inequalities, how can we employ the cyborg itself to rethink a different ontology and politics in dealing with new technology? These are all urgent questions for our contemporary times mediated by new technology and will be discussed closely in relation to the iN2015 master plan.
Appears in Collections:Master's Theses (Open)

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