They are Us

“They mediate our actions?
No, they are us.”

–Bruno Latour, “On Technical Mediation: Philosophy, Sociology, Genealogy.” Common Knowledge 3: 2 (1994) pp. 29-64.

These are the final words in Latour’s essay referenced above. The “they” he refers to are “artifacts” (which he says deserve to be treated as “full-fledged social actors”) but I am going to pretend he means technologies – his article after all is about technical mediation. After three days of frenzied internet searches, these simple words appealed to me.

In ETEC 511 (The Foundations of Educational Technology), we came across the concept of hybridity – that we cannot separate technology from ourselves, and that each changes the other to become something entirely new. I have only a tenuous grasp of these theories, but hope to achieve illumination sometime this semester.

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