What exactly is techno-animism? If you haven’t heard of the term, don’t worry. Probably many people out there haven’t either. To get back to the point, techno-animism can be called a culture where technology is given some human and religious or spiritual traits. In other words, according to techno-animism, humanity, tech, and spirituality can be combined into one existence. As a culture, it explores the possible synergy of the material and religious tech features. In addition, it is questioning the relation of it all to the humankind.
Origin of Techno-Animism
Many claim that the origin place of techno-animism is Japan. To be precise, this culture has been examined along with the correlation with Japan. Furthermore, techno-animism can be traced back to the Shinto religion. It is also linked to the DIY culture where for example, some non-human agencies were considered as a representation of techno-animism.
Shinto religion has always been known for ascribing human and religious features to objects. In this religion, the idols are symbolizing a physical object which has a form of a human. The purpose is to create certain bonds with the objects and give them some sense.
Thus, techno-animism with its base in Shinto, instill human and religious features to tech. In essence, techno-animism is often integrated into the design of things or objects, but it is also mirrored in human interaction with those objects. It is a way for the new tech to be incorporated into human society.
Almost the same goes for Japanese culture. Japanese people give importance to the synergy of humans and non-human objects. According to their culture, it is essential for the normal functioning of humans and nature. In practice, this could be explained through pre-meal prayers in Japan. They express gratitude to all the parts of their meal before starting to consume them.
Techno-animism is received with rather positive feedback in Japan. Their culture and law support this new-age trend. As a matter of fact, it is one of the main reasons behind Japan’s many tech innovations and modernization of the nation. Some of the obvious examples are robots. The most recent innovation and a representation of techno-animism is a humanoid robot ASIMO created by Honda. Apart from artificial communication, it has other techno-animism characteristics such as the outfit and the form (it is dressed as an astronaut).
Various engineering designs, especially in Japan, give robots tons of functions that used to be ascribed only to humans. Slowly but surely, techno-animism is advancing and giving tech some human and spiritual features, skills, and characteristics that were unimaginable.