Technological Nature – And the Problem When Good Enough Becomes Good



In recent years the sophistication and pervasiveness of our technologies have begun to change our species’ long-standing experiences with nature. Now we have technological nature – technologies that in various ways mediate, augment, or simulate the natural world.

Entire television networks, such as Discovery Channel and Animal Planet, provide us with mediated digital experiences of nature: the lion’s hunt, the Monarch’s migration, and climbing high into the Himalayan peaks. Video games like Zoo Tycoon engage children with animal life. Zoos themselves are bringing technologies such as webcams into their exhibits so that we can, for example, watch the animals in their captive habitat from the leisure of our home or a cafe. Inexpensive robotic pets – such as the i-Cybie, Tekno, and Poo-Chi – have been big sellers in the Wal-Marts and Targets of the world. Sony’s higher-end robotic dog AIBO sold well and portend the future. A few years ago, you could Telehunt in Texas. You...


Actual Nature Humanoid Robot Glass Window Heart Rate Recovery Moral Standing 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



We thank Bruce Janz for his discussions with us on interpreting Martin Buber’s account of an I–You relationship, and particularly whether, in Buber’s account, it is possible to have an I–You relationship with technological nature. Of course, any problems in this paper are ours, not Janz’s. This paper is based upon research supported by the National Science Foundation under Grants No. IIS-0102558 and IIS-0325035. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of WashingtonSeattleUSA
  2. 2.University of WashingtonMiamiUSA

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