Cyberspace, simulation, artificial intelligence, affectionate machines and being human
Abstract This article focuses on the question whether the technologically enabled advent of ?virtual reality? or ?cyberspace? has a significant impact on human experience of the world. Gilbert Germain's work on Virilio and Baudrillard gives greater insight in this regard, specifically regarding cyberspace as the new ?frontier?, and focuses on the alienating effects of cyberspace regarding the human life-world. Turkle's recent work regarding robotics similarly points to a fundamental shift in human attitudes towards ?embodied? artificial intelligence, especially concerning its capacity for affectivity, which further marks a turning away from the complexity of human relationships in favour of supposedly uncomplicated ?machine relationships?. Derrida enables one to better understand the changing relation between humans and machines in terms of the reconfiguration of human subjectivity. Together with Turkle's work in this domain, it points to a surprising ?reconfiguration? of conceptions regarding being human. Finally, Feenberg's retrospective on the fraught relations between humans and technology, as reflected in various fictional and theoretical works, as well as social developments, provides a suitable conclusion, given his affirmative remarks on the prospects of human autonomy in relation to the Internet.