What does it mean to be human in a world obsessed with technology?
Posthumanities explore that question, and Dr. Jake Simmons, associate dean of research and graduate student success for the College of Arts and Letters, takes this research seriously.
Simmons studies the philosophy of communication, which focuses not on what people are saying, but who or what is communicating.
Simmons says we cannot exist without the technology we’ve become accustomed to.
“Technological environments have eclipsed humanity,” he said. “It’s not just a form of communication anymore. It is us.”
Combining research forces
Simmons focuses part of his research on culture and diversity. His two areas of study converge in mighty ways.
For example, the ability to acquire access to the internet, and who produces the content on the internet, affects a community’s knowledge base. These environmental situations affect culture in the long run.
“I don’t agree with an apocalyptic technology narrative,” he said. “But we are fundamentally involved with technology. We have to think about our identity within our different digital networks.”
Sharing, receiving knowledge
Simmons does his best to stay on the front line in his areas of study. He knows that doing this benefits him, his students and society as a whole.
“The only way to know what is cutting edge is to be involved,” he said. “If I stop researching, then I have to retire.”
He advises more than 60 graduate students at MSU.
“The students are the geniuses,” he said. “I just figure out a way to facilitate that knowledge and put it in some sort of cohesive form.”