Academic journal article Electronic Green Journal

Review: Technological Nature: Adaptation and the Future of Human Life

Academic journal article Electronic Green Journal

Review: Technological Nature: Adaptation and the Future of Human Life

Article excerpt

Review: Technological Nature: Adaptation and the Future of Human Life By Peter H. Kahn, Jr. Reviewed by Byron Anderson DeKalb, Illinois, USA Kahn, Peter H., Jr. Technological Nature: Adaptation and the Future of Human Life. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 2011. xviii, 230 pp. ISBN: 978-0-262-11322-9, US $24.95

Technological nature is defined as "technologies that in various ways mediate, augment, or simulate the natural world" (p. xiii). In Technological Nature, the author focuses on the psychological and physiological effects of interaction with technological nature on individuals. Data are collected from studies using various forms of technological nature, specifically realtime nature on flat digital screens, interacting with AIBO, a robotic dog, and Telegarden, "an installation that allows people to plant and tend seeds by controlling a robotic arm through a Web-based interface" (p. 151). An additional chapter, not based on research data, introduces a condition called "environmental generational disorder" where each generation views a degraded condition in the environment as normal. If allowed to continue, the disorder could lead to a society that has no memory of real wildness. This would lead to many losses; for example, numerous studies have shown that "stress reduction is one of the perceived benefits of spending time in a wilderness area" (p. 13).

Kahn is Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology and Director of the Human Interaction with Nature and Technological Systems Laboratory at the University of Washington. He seeks to answer if we should be concerned that actual nature is being replaced with technological nature, especially since the line between technology and nature is becoming more obscure. …

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