quarta-feira, 23 de março de 2011

Natural-Born Cyborgs: Minds, Technologies, and the Future of Human Intelligence

The Naked Cyborg

My 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 all 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 nonbiological circuitry. This book is the story of that transition and of its roots in some of the most basic and characteristic facts about human nature. For human beings, I want to convince you, are naturalborn cyborgs.

This may sound like futuristic mumbo-jumbo, and I happily confess that I wrote the preceding paragraph with an eye to catching your attention, even if only by the somewhat dangerous route of courting your immediate disapproval! But I do believe that it is the plain and literal truth. I believe, to be clear, that it is above all a SCIENTIFIC truth, a reflection of some deep and important facts about (a whiff of paradox here?) our special, and distinctively HUMAN, nature.

Certainly I don’t think this tendency toward cognitive hybridization is a modern development. Rather, it is an aspect of our humanity, which is as basic and ancient as the use of speech and which has been extending its territory ever since. We see some of the “cognitive fossil trail” of the cyborg trait in the historical procession of potent cognitive technologies that begins with speech and counting, morphs first into written text and numerals, then into early printing (without moveable typefaces), on to the revolutions of moveable typefaces and the printing press, and most recently to the digital encodings that bring text, sound, and image into a uniform and widely transmissible format. Such technologies, once up and running in the various appliances and institutions that surround us, do far more than merely allow for the external storage and transmission of ideas. They constitute, I want to say, a cascade of “mindware upgrades”: cognitive upheavals in which the effective architecture of the human mind is altered and transformed.


CHAPTER 1 Cyborgs Unplugged
CHAPTER 2 Technologies to Bond With 
CHAPTER 3 Plastic Brains, Hybrid Minds 
CHAPTER 4 Where Are We? 
CHAPTER 5 What Are We? 
CHAPTER 6 Global Swarming 
CHAPTER 7 Bad Borgs? 
CHAPTER 8 Conclusions: Post-Human, Moi? 

Natural-Born Cyborgs: Minds, Technologies, and the Future of Human Intelligence [ Download ]
Andy Clark