Technology in the lens of Posthumanism and Transhumanism

I am assigned a specific technology, which is the da Vinci Xi, a surgical technology.
I have to divide the essay into 3 sections:
– Your technology as an assemblage (with specific attention toward the tech comm that surrounds it)
– A technology in cultural, film, or literary representation
– Your technology contextualized within its own disciplinary questions/conflicts

All of this has to link back to posthumanism, transhumanism, and assemblages.

I included our detailed essay outline of what to put in each section. Each section should have some sort of a key claim and then evidence, specific examples, and an analysis.

Also, sources are needed. I put links in the outline to a couple of sources, but you can use any other source.

The written component will contain at least 4 major sections that map on to our course
● Introduction
Identify your technology/site/focus for your project and contextualize it within the
discourse of post- or transhumanism from our course. Put differently, talk about your
technology and explain what is interesting about it from a post-/transhumanism
The chosen technology is called da Vinci Xi, which is a surgical technology within the medical
field. With this, the robotic technology assists surgeons through expanding their human
capabilities in order to perform vast types of surgeries within a minimally invasive framework.
This not only provides fewer surgical errors but also minimizes the complexity of deadly
surgeries, proving to lead to a more successful outcome. Further, the surgical system allows
surgeons to perform robotic-assisted invasive surgeries with instruments they guide, via a
console, that not only translates the surgeon’s movements in real-time but performs the surgery
in a way that humans are not scientifically capable of. This means that through only one or a
few small incisions, a surgeon is able to operate a complex procedure with more flexibility,
control, and precision, relatively wiping out human surgical errors that could potentially lead to a
deadly situation. Thus, the site and focus of this project is robotics within the surgical field, and
generally within the medical field, focused on da Vinci Xi, and the ability to enhance human
abilities to a large degree. From a transhumanism framework, this machine indubitably
enhances and extends human abilities, and specifically, surgeon abilities as through this type of
robotic-assisted surgery, surgeons are given the ability to view 3D images of the operation site
that the human eye is not capable of viewing, and surgeons may be able to locate the surgery’s
target in a more accurate and clear way. With this, the ability to see very closely also allows for
more precision and fewer errors, reaching the target site even when the patient’s body may
reject this due to, for example, an encompassed lung within a thoracic procedure. Alongside the
enhancements when it comes to vision, ergonomic support is also provided, proper posture, and
a reduction in risk of injury, through stability and positioning, even when a lengthy and
time-consuming procedure is in place. With this, the hydraulic instruments within the machine
allow a more flexible “human” form, reaching areas through “tiny arms” situated at the front of
the machine, allowing for more operative reach. Furthermore, these tiny arms allow for human
extension and enhancement as the needle-like fragments within the machine reduce pain and
blood loss, due to smaller incisions with more precision. Thus, this technology is very interesting
within a transhumanism framework as not only does it enhance human capabilities, it does not
replace them, which allows the general public to be more receptive and less fearful of this
machine as a surgeon must operate this technology in order for it to work, precisely, being an
extension of human vision, arms, precision, and experience.
Section 1: Your technology as an assemblage (with specific attention toward the
tech comm that surrounds it)
Main idea – talk about the distributed responsibility between all components of
the assemblage.
Technical communication unit: Describe the communication and documentation
surrounding the technology or site. Who are the audiences, the tasks involved, the
assemblage(s), and variety of human and non-human agents that participate in the
technology’s function?
The audiences involved in this technology are the surgeons and the patients. The types
of surgeons involved include surgeons that need to operate on very complex and invasive areas
that human ability and experience will not be enough to maintain. Further, the main types of
surgeons are surgeons who need robotic assistance due to how complex a procedure is, or,
with great experience but of old age, not being able to perform efficiently or surgeons that may
be unable to perform surgeries due to their own physical complications and opt for a robotically
assisted surgery. When it comes to the audience involved, patients include individuals going
under mainly, colorectal, head and neck, chest, urology, or gynecology surgery. These types of
surgery require an immense amount of precision and clearness, otherwise, deadly precautions
may ensue. The task at hand is completing the surgical process, which includes communication
between the surgeon and the technology in order to accurately translate the surgeon’s
commands in a more precise way on a said patient. Another task is the surgical team’s
assistance which includes overlooking and providing guidance. The assemblage, which is the
surgical process, includes human and nonhuman parts working together in order to complete
the surgical process. The tower is positioned typically, above the patients’ head and contains
four robotic arms, three of them may hold a wide range of surgical instruments and a fourth arm
holds the 3D camera. To note, additional video screens allow the rest of the surgical team to
view into the surgery in order to allow assistance. With this, the arms replicate the surgeon’s
movements. Also, the console allows the surgeon to sit and operate the controls of the robot
while viewing the monitor which allows a 3D view. Further, the surgeon operates a footswitch
and a touchpad which allows the adjusting of the video system, and the touchpad allows,
mainly, the changing of the instruments held by the robot. Furthermore, the ergonomic console
and controls allow the surgeon to remain in posture, in order to avoid any errors. Mainly, two
master controls allow the surgeon to gain control and move the robot’s hands, allowing fingertip
precision. Thus, the human and nonhuman parts include our main technology, its tower, and
four robotic arms, which may shift between surgical instruments, a 3D camera, monitor,
touchpad, controls, footswitch, and ergonomic console. The human components include the
surgeon, the patient, and the surgical team.
Thus, communication includes communication between the surgeon’s movements, to the
machine, the machine, to the patient’s body, and communication from the surgical team in the
form of guidelines. Rather, documentation includes medical documentation in order to be able to
perform a surgery utilizing the robotic assistance from the patient, in the form of consent. With
this, documentation also comes in the form of the 3D camera which also may be recorded in
order to provide proof of any errors, if this occurs, or report the success of the surgery.
When it comes to the consent form:
Compare it to other consent forms and see the variations in technology.
Section 2: Your technology in cultural, film, or literary representation:
Describe Batman, and how the suit needs to be operated by Batman and the suit itself
enhances his abilities. Link it to how instead of Decentralizing the human, it centers the human
and places them in the middle of the system (eg. the suit needs batman himself to operate the
suit technology). Link it to how the da Vinci Xi centers the human in the assemblage (it requires
a human to run and operate the technology).
Section 3: Your technology contextualized within its own disciplinary questions/conflicts
Disciplinary considerations when it comes to technologies is most strongly to a philosophical
sense, where it would be the connection of the fact, if it’s already very difficult to establish
enough trust and confidence to go through surgery with a human actor as a doctor, what if that
human actor’s is absent, and rather present elsewhere, only existing within your presence
through an artificial media of the da Vinci. Thus in that sense it’s almost a sif it were a
simulation, where one cannot see the doctor being physically there during the surgery, yet
they’re present. There then is the major issue of fallibility, what if a doctor commits a mistake
during the surgery, but that mistake would be deficiencies in the operating of our technology da
Vinci, in that case where would the responsibility go towards, or it would distribute and
distribute. From the view of the health industry, it’s very effective as a means to increase
survivability of patients, especially within remote locations to be operated on, which in turn
would ensure for more lives to be saved. Further, theoretically in poor countries, this notion can
be truly realized.
● Conclusion
These sections may be distinct from each other, but they should be crafted so as to
develop a coherent, cohesive conclusion about your focus (e.g. the system or
technology). The goal in synthesizing these 4 sections should be to demonstrate the
holistic impact of your focal object by elucidating its many impacts on society.


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