|The Third Culture||
"As our worlds become smarter, and get to know us better and better," writes cognitive scientist Andy Clark, "it becomes harder and harder to say where the world stops and the person begins."
Clark's examines the"potent, portable machinery linking the user to an increasingly responsive World Wide Web," as well as "the gradual smartening-up and interconnection of the many everyday objects which populate our homes and offices." But his interest is not primarily in new technology. "Rather," he writes, "it is to talk about us, about our sense of self, and about the nature of the human mind. The point is not to guess at what we might soon become, but to better appreciate what we already are: creatures whose minds are special precisely because they are tailor-made to mix and match neural, bodily and technological ploys."
According to Clark, we have to give up the prejudice "that whatever matters about mind must depend solely on what goes on inside the biological skin-bag, inside the ancient fortress of skin and skull." He presents cognitive technologies as "deep and integral parts of the problem-solving systems that constitute human intelligence. They are best seen as proper parts of the computational apparatus that constitutes our minds."
CLARK is Professor of Philosophy and Cognitive Science at the
University of Sussex, UK. He was previously Director of the Philosophy/Neuroscience/Psychology
Program at Washington University in St. Louis. He is the author of
Microcognition: Philosophy, Cognitive Science and Parallel Distributed
Processing, Associative Engines, and Being There: Putting
Brain, Body and World Together Again.
body is an electronic virgin. I incorporate no silicon chips, no
retinal or cochlear implants, no pacemaker. I don't even wear glasses
(though I do wear clothes). But I am slowly becoming more and more
a Cyborg. So are you. Pretty soon, and still without the need for
wires, surgery or bodily alterations, we shall be kin to the Terminator,
to Eve 8, to Cable...just fill in your favorite fictional Cyborg.
Perhaps we already are. For we shall be Cyborgs not in the merely
superficial sense of combining flesh and wires, but in the more
profound sense of being human-technology symbionts: thinking and
reasoning systems whose minds and selves are spread across biological
brain and non-biological circuitry.