The HK+ Mobility Humanities Institutes publishes a research series (Assemblage), a translation series (Interconnect), and a public education series (Engagement).
Co-Evolution of Technology and Humans in the Era of Mobility

Co-Evolution of Technology and Humans in the Era of Mobility

Taehee Kim (edited)
LP Publication (Seoul, South Korea)
Establishing New Mobility Governmentality
Beyond Superficial Optimism

Expansion of the Concept of Mobility, Material Turn and Co-Evolution

Initiated and popularized by John Urry and his colleagues in the early 21st century, the interdisciplinary ‘new mobilities’ paradigm explores the movement of people, materials, information/images in the modern world and its various form, speed, and property as well. One of the quintessential theses of this new paradigm analyzing high-mobility society is that “mobility is material and thereby it premises a material condition in which all people, objects, information, ideas, and images are on the move.” As the theoretical basis for understanding this materiality, the so-called “material turn” emerges in the social sciences and humanities. Transcending anthropocentrism based on the bifurcation of nature and culture, the material turn emphasizes a human-nonhuman assemblage in terms of flat ontology, one that amounts to an ontological equivalence of human, material, more-than-human, nonhuman. From this perspective, it can be said that technology is not a simple means of mediating between human beings and the world. From that time, human beings and technology were closely interconnected, enabling them to have co-evolved together. Based on the notion of flat ontology, we can discuss the co-evolution of humans and machines within “the sequential ensemble of nature-human-machine.”

Reflections on the Future: not a future simply to come to us, but a future we will be making on our own

Whilst the notion of co-evolution is often defined as “the reciprocal evolution of interacting species,” it does not necessarily mean reciprocal evolution if we take into account a broader sense, which involves collaborative or altruistic, competitive, exploitative, predator-prey systems. Furthermore, the term co-evolution does not always signify the progressive since the concept of evolution itself does not always signify positive development or progress. This is, therefore, a pivotal point for those who anticipate and prepare for a future resulting from the development of mobility technology. For we could easily fall into a superficial optimism of an image of the future resulting from technology due to the widely accepted premise that the co-evolution of humans in motion and technology signifies something progressive for both parties. Situated at the intersection of the material turn, this book conceptualizes ‘mobility co-evolution’ between homo mobilicus and mobility technology; in particular it focalizes the fact that such co-evolution constitutes a certain kind of ‘mobility scape’ engendering a new perception, affect, sense of time and space, and placeness. In addition to this, it also examines the aspects of a new power and governance within the context of ‘mobility governmentality.’

Book Synopsis

The book consists of three parts.
  • Part 1 entitled ‘Co-Evolution of Technology and Humans’ investigates multiple aspects of material turn providing a theoretical ground for discussing issues around co-evolution within the new mobilities paradigm. This part examines in principle not simply the ways in which the notions of artificial intelligence and posthumanism take issue with a new anthropology but also how they are embodied in the social sciences and humanities from plural perspectives.
  • Part 2 entitled ‘Mobility Scape and Homo Mobilicus’ focuses on how the development of mobility technology interacts with human being’s sense, perception, affect, temporal/spatial consciousness, placeness, all of which can be characterized as concrete aspects of co-evolution between humans and technology.
  • Part 3 entitled ‘Society on the Move and Mobility Governmentality’ reflects the ways in which both human being as an individual and the whole society have changed within the context of co-evolution; thereby it also reflects how such a new governmentality in society has been changed as well as how we can cope with those changes.