What is technobiophilia? Here’s the definition.

Surfing on the Internet by J.C. Herz, 1995

Technobiophilia is ‘the innate tendency to focus on life and lifelike processes as they appear in technology’.

I developed it from ‘biophilia’, a word originally coined by Erich Fromm to denote a psychological orientation towards nature but which has come to be more closely associated with biologist E.O. Wilson’s use of the term for our ‘innate tendency to focus on life and lifelike processes’.

Technobiophilia refers to the way we use concepts from the natural world to help us understand new technologies such as the internet. You often hear cyberspace described as ‘the Wild West’, for example, and in the early days there was much talk of an ‘electronic frontier’ – both references to the discovery of new territories. J.C.Herz, author of Surfing on the Internet, described how one morning in 1995 she logged off at dawn and walked the four blocks from her apartment to the blue Atlantic, where she jumped in. ‘Wow’, she wrote, ‘now this is bandwidth’. This kind of comparison makes sense because the notion of bandwidth is easily transferable to the concept of ocean, and in fact it also correlates with the idea of ‘extent’ as described in environmental psychology, but more of that later.

Technobiophilia: nature and cyberspace‘ comes out in the UK on 26th September 2013 and in the run up to publication I’ll be adding a new post every weekday afternoon.

Subscribe to this blog to catch them all, and come back tomorrow for links to the videos I wrote about in the book.

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