After reading Hayles’ How We Became Posthuman, I wondered at the scope of her assertion. Are we really posthuman? Although she does say that she is discussing a small percentage of the population (Hayles 6). I wondered what percentage of the world population really accesses the internet. So, I googled it. This is what I found.

You can see the rest of the tables here.

While North America does not contain the largest number of internet users, it does have the largest percentage of total population 74.2 percent on the net. Following closely behind are Oceania/Australia at 60.4 percent and then Europe at 52 percent. I then wondered what percentage of the North American population would be considered elderly. I was mostly interested in the Greatest Generation (born from 1916 to 1925) and the Silent Generation (born from 1926 to 1938) which are considered the most resistant to technology. My research suggested 20.4 percent of North America is elderly. Thinking back to discussions that we (our class) have had I wondered will North Americans truly become posthuman when the last people who do not use the internet die? Or is that too simplistic a question? Perhaps the issue is even more complicated than that. I suspect so.

According to Hayles the main indicators or being posthuman are (1) viewing informational patterns as more important than material instantiation, to the point that embodiment “is seen as an accident of history rather than an inevitability of life,” (2) consciousness as a minor part of life, (3) the body as a prosthesis that can be replaced, (4) the human being as seamlessly connectable with intelligent machines with “[n]o essential differences or absolute demarcations between bodily existence and computer simulation” (2-3).

This brought up a new question for me. Does being posthuman then truly lie within having an avatar—a computer simulated alternate self?

Surprisingly 63 percent of the US population is a gamer. (For the full article) This would suggest that a large percentage of North Americans has experienced playing in some sort of avatar form, but this is a smaller number than the 74 percent of internet users.

It isn’t yet accurate to claim that all humans have become posthuman. But judging by the rates of internet usage growth, this claim might soon be possible.

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