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Super Late Chorost Notes

Franklin20's picture

 Hi!  I realized that I never posted my notes from when we skyped with Michael Chorost:



Leading Questions:

·      What do we make of the idea of a public figure? Do we have privacy?

·      How tough will it be to integrate humanity with the internet?



No real preface to the book. Take questions and let the discussion build?

Was integrating human and machines difficult – co-hearing implant

·      Outside mechanics connects to surgically implant in the brain which trigger nerve ending

·      Direct electrical stimulation of the auditory nerves

·      Taught that you can put a computer in a human body to affect the nervous system – can we elaborate on this technology to communicate with the brain itself

·      Had to relearn language (though not environmental sounds) – how natural is this? Helpful extension but is this a natural extension? Does this mean that language and other components are unnatural?

·      Took about three months before phone conversations were possible, etc

Does this mean that surgery on babies is the next step.  Will surgeons have more power?

·      Restorative technology – they fix something that gets broken. Some theorists would have us ask what is broken. Biological problem or societal acceptance problem

·      Society wants that kinds of thing – real hunger for constant communication to get next text message or next email – crave intimate communication.

How much do people want these technologies based on societal standards? Maybe not every culture such a strong connection with electronics.

·      Technology presents new possibilities. Cannot predict what’s going to happen with new technologies. Nobody predicted email, twitter, texting

·      Different cultures will pick up different technologies and use them for all sorts of purposes

Material Connection – does the materiality of new technology matter in how it is accepted? Will hesitation about how natural these technologies are prevent evolution

·      Disgust on technology is always present

·      Body modification has the “ew” effect

·      The way we think about our bodies and what we can do with our bodies are changing. It is the essence of human kind to be that adept and open to change. Is this what Harroway means when she introduces the term “natural cyborg”

Physical presence over electronic communication. Physical presence and touch are crucial to development and health and that sending all of these messages takes away from intimacy. Can electronic communication strengthen those intimate connections

·      College aged students are less likely to call people because it is too open-ended. Can we solve this problem. We are too bound to our machines.

·      Very few people try to occupy the middle ground to say that technology enhances communication and relationships. These devices become an actual physical barrier. What happens when we integrate the technology into the body. The brain doesn’t discriminate between what the brain is actually doing vs. technology is doing.

·      There really isn’t any easy solution to this technological distancing.

·      Empathetic communication has to, and in fact, can be taught.

How do we re-define what public means?

·      Two meaning of public. One who is popularly present, known in the public sphere vs. one who puts information that can be know on the public sphere. The difference is the potentiality and width of the public knowledge

·      The availability of broadcasting is a lot more available than what it could be

·      If we integrate the internet into our body, what does that do with our notions of privacy

·      The notion of privacy has changed quite a bit. Anecdote about Brown anti-depressants

·      Sharing and being less private is not necessarily a bad thing. The concept of privacy is also historically relative. Privacy is a modern construction – we are private because we enough space and resources.

Does learning change? Is learning an ethically complicated thing (at least in a school environment)

·      Learning is a very complicated thing. We don’t know very much about how the brain learns.

·      Learning by downloading information instantly is outrageous and not factually based or even likely.

·      Learning has not changed. What has changed is the way in which information is delivered. The essential dialogue between stimulus and perceiver has not changed.

·      What can change is a structure that is attune to a student alertness

·      Its possible that these technologies have an “A HA!” reaction. That allows for teachers to be more attune with the needs of their students

·      Would like to see a more empathetic emotionally engaged format.

What would the learning curve to getting used these new technologies be like.

·      Like learning a new language. All brains do not react the same. You would have to learn by experience the way different people experience a shared stimulus. Learning the subtle cues of a different society

·      Likens it to learning the cues of going to a different culture

·      One difference would be in infants, it would be a part of the body. For infants, there is no learning curve. Its just part of the body.

Is there any difference between a person who those who use technology and those who do not

·      Using the technology may signal the end of the signing-deaf community.

·      Felt distanced because of the language barrier – but not because of people feeling ethically opposed to surgically enhanced learning. But other students feel the distance. In authentic deaf person. Being too aural or not being signing-deaf enough.

·      Hostility may exist but it was not perceived.

What do you think about the possibility of the digital world. What do you think about human survival within a human space. Machines existing in a physical world vs. humans existing in a machine/ digital world.

·      Rearranged the key board to slow the type setters down. Intentionally crappy interfaced technology.   Wants to allow for a more seamless integration between human and machine.

·      Doesn’t seem implausible to use avatars but brain functioning to basic senses are not extremely well understood. Possible in principle but we don’t know enough about these human functioning’s for these things to be done

Could the internet become self aware

·      Basic analogy is the hive mind of the ant hill. Ants without much individual intelligence can do very intelligent collective functions.

·      Would we have to reduce our individual intelligence for the sake of a collective intelligence. Can a widespread acceptance of individuality embrace the hive-mind mentality.

·      Today, we cant speak today of the internet as being intelligent. How do we know if consciousness is finally achieved?

·      Nobody can answer the question of the internet becoming self-aware




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