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vgaffney's picture

"Reading" another's mind

 I had a similar thought following our conversation with Chorost.  I was very intrigued by the enhanced interaction and interconnection that seemed to be the goal of such a technological innovation (giving human brains constant access to the internet). Overall, I very much enjoyed listening to the aspects of the conversation revolving around the notion of communication. Admittedly, when I first read the sections of the book I was a bit wary of such close interconnection between minds. However, after hearing the advantages of modern technological innovations—email, instant messaging, facebook etc—I became more acclimated to the idea. Many people, mostly the older generation, are still adverse to these new practices of communication. However, this resistance of the new and unknown is understandable and, as Chorost pointed out, consistent with humans’ history with technological advancement. As he pointed out, each new technological advancement has always been met with opposition and resistance, but in time individuals have learned to adapt.  I’m still a bit unclear, however, on where exactly the line is drawn for this potential method of communication. It’s clear that the communication which Chorost suggests is aimed at bringing humans even closer together, bridging the current gaps in communication. However, he also mentioned in the book that humans will never be able to read each others’ minds: “It will never be possible to experience the world exactly the way another brain does” (13).  I still have some lingering confusion and don’t know exactly how to reconcile the notion of having access to another’s emotions and thoughts with this statement that reading minds will never be possible.  Is the suggestion implicit here that we would have access to others’ thoughts and emotions objectively—almost like a data stream—but would not glean the sensation of the subjective experience itself? I guess I’m still having trouble understanding what exactly such access to others’ thoughts and emotions would mean and what the implications or consequences might be.  Having access to another’s thoughts and emotions still seems to me awfully close to “reading” another’s private thoughts and emotions, even if it is only an objective account. 

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