Graham in Maniac-The Exploration of Co-Evolution

Episodes seven and eight of Maniac exemplify Graham’s theory regarding humanity’s relationship to technology. “Humanity has always co-evolved with, and defined itself in relation to, its environment, tools and technologies. (Graham 223)” This idea that people and technology are dependent on each other and evolve together is extremely similar to the nature of the simulations that the test subjects are put into. In many ways, the simulation is pre-defined for them; certain scenarios will represent different things based on which stage of the trial the test subjects are on (A, B, or C). These simulations, however, grow and change based on the human component (the psychological elements that the subjects bring into the simulations). In this way, the technology of this experimental drug, follows Graham’s theory. People create simulations which are then changed by the people that use them, technology and humanity developing and changing together.

The GRTA is also an example of this anomaly, she was created from the psychological data of a human therapist, Greta Mantelray, but she is also made to grow and change from this base. GRTA uses her uniquely adapted brain to help humans work through their trauma. According to Dr. Mantelray, GRTA was supposed to help humanity move beyond all unnecessary forms of pain. Humanity makes great strides in the creation of artificial intelligence, which will in-turn help humanity evolve past the quagmire of mental suffering.

Furthermore, the reaction of Dr. Mantelray to GRTA is similar to another aspect of Graham’s text. Dr. Mantelray relates fairly well to what Graham describes as a “technophilic.” Dr. Mantelray’s fascination with technology and the end of human suffering are almost exactly what Graham points out. “Technophilic attitudes are subtended by similar projections, valorizing technologies as protections against fears of vulnerability, contingency, impurity and mortality.

The GRTA and the simulations of the drug trial may be taken further and understood as metaphors for technology in our daily lives. With technology in our lives, we are constantly living through simulations, dating apps for example. Such apps remove the human interaction of physical and emotional connection and replace it with simulated connection – swipe right, swipe left. Conversely, however, we alter the simulations as much as they alter us. The people that produce the simulations-programmers, marketers, artists, etc.-must draw on their experience of reality to create such simulations. People are affected by technology, but the rapid evolution of technology is determined by people. Through GRTA and the drug trial, Maniac shows us a metaphor of the co-evolution of humanity and technology as described by Graham.

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