I have noticed an increasing phenomenon taking place over the past few years. Humans have started to use technology terms and lingo to refer to their own characteristics. For instance, the term “bandwidth” meaning the rate of data-transfer, is now a commonly used term to describe the amount of mental capacity one has to engage a project. I heard a friend say yesterday, “it is the end of the day, and I just don’t have enough bandwidth to deal with so many things right now.”
Technomorphism. A term in its infancy, meant to describe this 21st century literally phenomenon. This is an adaption of the term “anthropomorphism” from the Greek words anthropos (human) and morphe (shape or form). Defined by The Oxford English Dictionary as “attributing human form or feelings to a god, animal, or object” it was first used to describe the lingual action of giving human characteristics to the Gods, and then expanded into its broader meaning. For centuries we have been applying human characteristics to inanimate objects, or spiritual beings, to make them more familiar and understandable. Now we are using technological terms to describe our own emotions, feelings, selves, and worldviews. Fascinating! But what does this mean for us humans? What are the implications? Are we beginning to feel more connected to our machines? Perhaps this is an example of the likeness between humans and our inventions, we are recognizing ourselves in our own creation. This is intriguing stuff, it seems to show that us homo sapien sapiens have a great level of respect for our technological innovations, such that they are worthy of describing a human. The technological world has infused itself into our daily lives, so much so that we begin to blur the lines between self and the digital world in our language.
A tangent — there is great potential for this technological language to bridge the gaps of cultural language barriers. I can talk to a Thai person who knows no English for hours about their computer, but would fumble asking how to find the bathroom.
If you start to listen, I promise you will begin to hear this vocabulary everywhere. If you walk onto a college campus today, you will hear young people casual refer to storing their knowledge in their hard-drive, or how they crammed for a test and had to keep all those facts in their RAM . Some people self define as Software people – people who figure out systems and manage flow. While others are hardware people – people who work with structure. I have heard people refer to teamwork and group projects as….Web 2.0, cloud computing, open source thinking. Ever heard someone make a mistake and say “ctrl Z.”?
There are numerous other examples. Keep your ears out! If you hear any post it here, I want to know about it! Keep your ears open for the words “binary”, “web 2.0”, “bits”, “megabytes”, “google.”
For the moment — it is time for me to hit sleep mode.