Questions That Almost Got Me Into Penn

I want to develop a philosophy of technologically enabled networks.  Modernity is characterized by increasingly powerful methods of moving ideas, energy, and objects along networks all over the world regardless of traditional geographic restrictions.  My Master’s research was anchored in the development and affects of the railroad, the camera, and the harnessing of electricity.  These technologies reordered our conceptions of time and space.

I am also interested in the cultural effects of mechanizing our society.  In this regard, I look towards literature that explores this cultural vertigo.  Examples of this are Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein (the first AI), the writing of Stephen Crane, Joseph Conrad, T.S. Eliot, Alfred Tennyson,

That is where I came from, but where do I want to go?  Following are some central questions that I want my graduate study to address.  What are the social and cultural affects of electromechanically networking a society?  How do we meet the demands of being independent , autonomous, freethinking planetary citizens while valuing and appreciating our complete dependence upon one another?  Can a human consciousness be transferred to a mechanical, rather than biological, processing unit?  What are the evolving forms of networks?  How does changing  a network change the value systems of its participants?  From the transcontinental railroad to the Cold War, how does technological development shape international relations?  What are the affects of the Internet and other broadcast media on traditional, pre-electric, information dissemination systems?  What does the rise of the superhero contribute to an understanding of mechanically augmented man?


About Suhail Rafidi

Suhail Rafidi is a novelist and educator whose works explore the destiny of human values in a technological landscape. You can find him on Twitter, too, @shelldive.
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