Interview with a cyborg anthropologist

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5 Responses to “Interview with a cyborg anthropologist”

  1. Mark Dow says:

    The “natural defragmentation process(es)” in the human brain are usually referred to as “memory consolidation”.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Memory_consolidation

  2. Sometimes I find that certain drugs remove certain anxieties I have about using the computer system. For instance, some days I may be able-bodied and prepared to work, but I genuinely feel that I would rather work in a field, or garden, or on material objects, rather than endure the cold, sterile, dryness of my terminal, commandline interfaces and shells.

    No really. Just think about it. Before going into work you ask yourself the very genuine question: “Would I rather stare at Terminal all day, or work under the charming rays of the sun?”

    No seriously. Fuck you — ask yourself that question. Fuck your repos. Fuck your deployment scripts. Fuck your cron jobs. Fuck your backups. Fuck your revenue streams. Code reviews. Forget the beauty of “simplicity” that we are drafting in this information aesthetic, and re-imagine the beauty of “simplicity” in nature, the nature aesthetic. The thing Hobbes, Pascal, Aquinas, etc, etc found themselves arguing on. The “divine watchmaker” argument reminds me of this.

    Some days, I simply need a drug to help me endure the computer system. I say this because sometimes I feel that I have “extended” myself too far. For instance, this is my Speed Dial:

    https://plus.google.com/photos/100541351182813566938/albums/5712450853715557857

    Some days, my mind cannot handle it. It’s something that is mine, a kind of looking glass into the “reality” you perhaps speak of. Anyone could produce something like that, but usually people don’t. I see it as an extension of my memory, yet I usually cannot endure my own creation. A module of my own mind that I created.

    It is interesting, I think, that we could ask questions like “Will cognitive enhancement hurt us in the way that introducing a vaccine to a human host might have negative biophysical conseuqneces?”

    How “natural” is cognitive enhancement? Do we have a linguistic framework for apprehending the concept of “cognitive enhancement failure”? What are the conditions for “successful” cognitive enhancement?

    • Wreckrob8 says:

      If cognitive enhancement requires information, and you define the search for information as something we do these days simply to relieve the boredom of our lives, there is not much to say, really. If information is defined as a psychological requirement of the brain/body in order to find meaning then the quality and not the quantity of information and cognitive enhancement is paramount and your questions can be scarily interesting.

  3. jonlebkowsky says:

    Ideally technology shouldn’t take you out of nature, or away from your own nature. It should enhance, not diminish, your experience. I think one goal of cyborg anthropology could be a better mashup of what’s vibrant and human with opportunities for enahncement by digital technology. I never bought the vision of a grey dystopian future mediated by technology as some kind of post-singularity outcome.

  4. Mordicai says:

    I have three titanium plates in my skull & an undergrad in anth, so I count myself kindred.

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