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

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From Robocop to the Terminator to Eve 8, no image better captures our deepest fears about technology than the cyborg, the person who is both flesh and metal, brain and electronics. But philosopher and cognitive scientist Andy Clark sees it differently. Cyborgs, he writes, are not something to be feared--we already are cyborgs. In Natural-Born Cyborgs, Clark argues that wha From Robocop to the Terminator to Eve 8, no image better captures our deepest fears about technology than the cyborg, the person who is both flesh and metal, brain and electronics. But philosopher and cognitive scientist Andy Clark sees it differently. Cyborgs, he writes, are not something to be feared--we already are cyborgs. In Natural-Born Cyborgs, Clark argues that what makes humans so different from other species is our capacity to fully incorporate tools and supporting cultural practices into our existence. Technology as simple as writing on a sketchpad, as familiar as Google or a cellular phone, and as potentially revolutionary as mind-extending neural implants--all exploit our brains' astonishingly plastic nature. Our minds are primed to seek out and incorporate non-biological resources, so that we actually think and feel through our best technologies. Drawing on his expertise in cognitive science, Clark demonstrates that our sense of self and of physical presence can be expanded to a remarkable extent, placing the long-existing telephone and the emerging technology of telepresence on the same continuum. He explores ways in which we have adapted our lives to make use of technology (the measurement of time, for example, has wrought enormous changes in human existence), as well as ways in which increasingly fluid technologies can adapt to individual users during normal use. Bio-technological unions, Clark argues, are evolving with a speed never seen before in history. As we enter an age of wearable computers, sensory augmentation, wireless devices, intelligent environments, thought-controlled prosthetics, and rapid-fire information search and retrieval, the line between the user and her tools grows thinner day by day. "This double whammy of plastic brains and increasingly responsive and well-fitted tools creates an unprecedented opportunity for ever-closer kinds of human-machine merger," he writes, arguing that such a merger is entirely natural. A stunning new look at the human brain and the human self, Natural Born Cyborgs reveals how our technology is indeed inseparable from who we are and how we think.


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From Robocop to the Terminator to Eve 8, no image better captures our deepest fears about technology than the cyborg, the person who is both flesh and metal, brain and electronics. But philosopher and cognitive scientist Andy Clark sees it differently. Cyborgs, he writes, are not something to be feared--we already are cyborgs. In Natural-Born Cyborgs, Clark argues that wha From Robocop to the Terminator to Eve 8, no image better captures our deepest fears about technology than the cyborg, the person who is both flesh and metal, brain and electronics. But philosopher and cognitive scientist Andy Clark sees it differently. Cyborgs, he writes, are not something to be feared--we already are cyborgs. In Natural-Born Cyborgs, Clark argues that what makes humans so different from other species is our capacity to fully incorporate tools and supporting cultural practices into our existence. Technology as simple as writing on a sketchpad, as familiar as Google or a cellular phone, and as potentially revolutionary as mind-extending neural implants--all exploit our brains' astonishingly plastic nature. Our minds are primed to seek out and incorporate non-biological resources, so that we actually think and feel through our best technologies. Drawing on his expertise in cognitive science, Clark demonstrates that our sense of self and of physical presence can be expanded to a remarkable extent, placing the long-existing telephone and the emerging technology of telepresence on the same continuum. He explores ways in which we have adapted our lives to make use of technology (the measurement of time, for example, has wrought enormous changes in human existence), as well as ways in which increasingly fluid technologies can adapt to individual users during normal use. Bio-technological unions, Clark argues, are evolving with a speed never seen before in history. As we enter an age of wearable computers, sensory augmentation, wireless devices, intelligent environments, thought-controlled prosthetics, and rapid-fire information search and retrieval, the line between the user and her tools grows thinner day by day. "This double whammy of plastic brains and increasingly responsive and well-fitted tools creates an unprecedented opportunity for ever-closer kinds of human-machine merger," he writes, arguing that such a merger is entirely natural. A stunning new look at the human brain and the human self, Natural Born Cyborgs reveals how our technology is indeed inseparable from who we are and how we think.

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

  1. 4 out of 5

    Nicky

    Most people who know me are probably aware that I am very pro-cyborgs. (I even wrote a four-page comic featuring my terrible art and a woman made into a cyborg for my Comics & Graphic Novels class.) The idea fascinates me and given half a chance I'd probably volunteer myself to get wired up. So this book caught my interest immediately, though how exactly Amazon knew to promote it at me, I'm not sure I want to know. It was published in 2004, so in terms of the technology, it's a little behind. It Most people who know me are probably aware that I am very pro-cyborgs. (I even wrote a four-page comic featuring my terrible art and a woman made into a cyborg for my Comics & Graphic Novels class.) The idea fascinates me and given half a chance I'd probably volunteer myself to get wired up. So this book caught my interest immediately, though how exactly Amazon knew to promote it at me, I'm not sure I want to know. It was published in 2004, so in terms of the technology, it's a little behind. It talks, for example, about the clunkiness of then-current e-reading technology. I read it on my little Kobo with its e-ink screen -- you know, the little device that I actually bought for £24. But in terms of concerns about technology, we haven't moved much past it. Some of them I was less convinced by (alienation, disembodiment), while others remain a concern, like the "digital divide". The main thrust of the book, however, is the theory that we're already cyborgs, in a sense. Human beings are tool users; we're not the only ones, but we're the most sophisticated ones we know of. We've had a form of external memory for thousands of years -- writing. Though most of us can't hold numbers in our heads for complicated equations, given a piece of paper, we can work through it and produce the answer. (Given a piece of paper and appropriate time, even I can calculate the heritability of a certain gene in the population, for example, and yet I struggle with remembering how to calculate percentages.) And now, there's the internet, information at our fingertips. When you grow up with these things, you learn to use them as semi-consciously as you do your own hands: I don't consciously calculate where the keys are as I'm typing this any more than I consciously calculate how far to lift my hand to turn a door handle. This aspect of the book hasn't dated badly. I found it interesting and convincing, and while I don't share all the author's ideas about where the links between biology and technology are going, I do agree that the lines are blurring. Perhaps one day we'll be indistinguishable -- after all, our mitochondria began as separate to the cells that were our ancestors.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Mikal

    Over the past year I found it quite challenging to peel off time to read. It's been exciting to get back to my one book a month pace (even though I missed it this go-round) with Andy Clark's Natural Born Cyborg.   Natural-Born Cyborgs takes me back to prior reading such as "Collaborative Media" and my personal favorite Paul Dourish's "Where the Action Is". Clark's core thesis is that we - human's - are already Natural-Born Cyborgs and have been since the invention of written language. To get ther Over the past year I found it quite challenging to peel off time to read. It's been exciting to get back to my one book a month pace (even though I missed it this go-round) with Andy Clark's Natural Born Cyborg.   Natural-Born Cyborgs takes me back to prior reading such as "Collaborative Media" and my personal favorite Paul Dourish's "Where the Action Is". Clark's core thesis is that we - human's - are already Natural-Born Cyborgs and have been since the invention of written language. To get there Clark resets expectations about what is a "Cyborg". First coined by Manfred Clynes, the term Cyborg was primarily focused on self-regulating systems such as pace makers to suit the future where human's explore new environments. Clark extends that to suggest that the core value of Cyborg technologies is not the degree to which they are embedded in our physical selves (thought experiment: does Google Glass make us any less cyborgs than if the technology were implanted directly in our eyes?); but instead the focus is on the degree of complexity and the transformative nature possible through the human-machine interface. Next Clark focuses on where the human-machine interfaces are being stretched and bridged such as a man who has found a way to control a third-hand. Such research highlights the neural plasticity of our species - and finally explored this further by investigating the concept of telepresence and along with it the difference between chronos (actual time) and kairos (the perception of time). Similar ideas exist in the difference between physical place and the perception of place -- or our proprioception. This journey begins to highlights to the modern day reader that the cell-phone has enabled us to realize the most advanced cybernetic capabilities of prior eras: real time access to information, a sense of information connectedness — breaking news alerts on our phone, the sensation of being multiple places at once and our ability to remote control — buzzing someone into our apartment from work. All of this highlights and shifts the view of what it means to be Cyborg and most interestingly highlights a now that we’re here — what next? As a technologist this eyeopening view provides a new lense to critique the role that technology could and should play in our lives. It’s already changed my views about the value of wearables — hint not the screen or Dick Tracy scenarios: https://medium.com/\@MikalFM/apple-wa... The book also helps me understand and form a richer point of view about the role of devices in my life as a human being. Ultimately this helps me understand how my needs, might differ from a person with disabilities or further a person who is homeless. For example for all the power a cell phone has in extending my human capability of having readily accessible information it fails in the richness of data input — so while I started this post on my phone, I quickly felt stifled as if my thinking was blocked by technology that was present-at-hand as opposed to the feeling of ready-to-hand when seeking new information. This highlights, for me the importance of larger devices to students and professionals where thinking is involved. Not primarily for it's larger screen but instead for it's richer input. I recommend this book for technology and philosophy enthusiasts and ultimately believe it’s a trans-formative work that can change perspective about the role of technology in our lives. Similar to the way Creation (Steve Grand) inspired Jeff Bezos to rethink the role of services at Amazon: > Bezos directed groups of engineers in brainstorming possible primitives. Storage, bandwidth, messaging, payments, and processing all made the list. In an informal way— as if the company didn’t quite know the insight around primitives was an extraordinary one— Amazon then started building teams to develop the services described on that list. > Stone, Brad (2013-10-15). The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon (p. 213). Little, Brown and Company. Kindle Edition.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Harry

    A strong rebuttal of the idea that modern technology is taking humans away from their true nature. Clark argues humans and technology have ALWAYS been merging. Dystopian science fiction has created too many stereotypes of cyborgs. Clark deconstructs this dark image of man-machine hybrid and illuminates that we are by nature cyborgs, just ones merged with our natural human "mindware" and supporting cultural practices rather than gory, scary flesh/machine physical connections imagined in dystopias A strong rebuttal of the idea that modern technology is taking humans away from their true nature. Clark argues humans and technology have ALWAYS been merging. Dystopian science fiction has created too many stereotypes of cyborgs. Clark deconstructs this dark image of man-machine hybrid and illuminates that we are by nature cyborgs, just ones merged with our natural human "mindware" and supporting cultural practices rather than gory, scary flesh/machine physical connections imagined in dystopias. He does devote a chapter, "Bad Borgs?", to the aniticipated dangers of too much technology in our lives. His responses are not "The solutions are all there" and he does expose challenging questions unanswered. But he also notes how dealing with those dilemmas isn't done by falling back on our fearful images of "humans plugged in". Everyone, take note of his term "nonpenetrative" technology. That is how Clark charts the currently-occuring (r)evolution of our technology to fit our needs. Nonpenetrative means essentially tech that is hooked to us non-physically. Read and see. And since this book came out in 2003, I recommend we all look up what Dr. Clark has been up to with this overall theme: extended cognition = our thought process is not confined to our head, but goes in, out, through our tech, and back into our heads in a feedback loop of cognition.

  4. 5 out of 5

    DryTung

    After reading Lewis Mumford, Clark's Natural Born Cyborg is a shell of a book. Mumford gives a lucid perspective of human technics that allows you to reach the point with which Clark finishes his Natural Born Cyborg. And Mumford wrote before the technological advancements Clark drools about. Clark's favorite point; that our perception of our bodies can extend outside of our flesh IS exciting. However if you're already there conceptually and read some work on phenomenology then there's nothing ne After reading Lewis Mumford, Clark's Natural Born Cyborg is a shell of a book. Mumford gives a lucid perspective of human technics that allows you to reach the point with which Clark finishes his Natural Born Cyborg. And Mumford wrote before the technological advancements Clark drools about. Clark's favorite point; that our perception of our bodies can extend outside of our flesh IS exciting. However if you're already there conceptually and read some work on phenomenology then there's nothing new in this book for you. His lists of technological crazy shit going on in the world is boring. This book frankly doesn't go that deep. I think I would have liked it if I was a teenager though. O, he writes shit like, "the mental buck stops here." Annoyingly cute. If you think "extended consciousness" is the latest and greatest then read The Tibetan Book of the Dead, The Poetics of Space or even Blake, Whitman or Shakespeare.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Donnan Gravelle

    Andy Clark is one of the most important philosophers of the modern age. He is also someone I never recommend to anyone who is not working in cognitive science. He is often incredibly careful, specific, and technical, which makes him essential for anyone interested in cognitive science, both theoretical and practical, but not great for those in other fields or just general readers. This book is the exception. Natural Born Cyborg is by far the most readable book by Clark, and I would imagine it is Andy Clark is one of the most important philosophers of the modern age. He is also someone I never recommend to anyone who is not working in cognitive science. He is often incredibly careful, specific, and technical, which makes him essential for anyone interested in cognitive science, both theoretical and practical, but not great for those in other fields or just general readers. This book is the exception. Natural Born Cyborg is by far the most readable book by Clark, and I would imagine it is fairly approachable by a general educated audience. The main thesis is that the close relationship humans have to their technology is a product of human nature; humans have evolved to have the brains and bodies that mesh with technology. This meshing is as natural as wearing clothes or cooking food, and instead of fighting the intrusion of technology into our lives, we should embrace it as a purely natural phenomenon. If you have read anything by Clark before, this isn’t surprising, but it is still worth the read for the sci-fi examples and the philosophical treatments. One can’t help but feel like a second edition is warranted. This was published in 2003, and the world has changed dramatically since then. One of the points Clark makes is about feedback modulating how the brain represents the body, and I couldn’t help but think of the new PlayStation 5 controllers, which makes use of adaptive triggers that adjust the resistance given based on the action taken in the game. Also, several wonderful examples of sci-fi media has came out that provide wonderful thought experiments. One example is the anime “Psycho-Pass”, which takes place in a futuristic utopia where all decisions are made by smart technology. What happens to responsibility in this context? What happens when we are no longer able to make our own decisions because we never learned? Is this even possible? This is a book that I would easily recommend to anyone who questions whether we should delete our social media pages, unplug our laptops, and just go live in the woods. It is an optimistic take by one of the smartest people in the world, and incredibly readable given some patience.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Roger Whitson

    Given Clark's ground-breaking neuroscience work, I found this book underwhelming. There's a lot of interesting insights here, but nothing that isn't found in basic media studies texts like those of Lewis Mumford, Marshal McLuhan, etc. I do think had he incorporated more neuroscience work (like in his amazing recent book SURFING UNCERTAINTY), this book could have been more interesting. Also, reading this in 2018, and seeing his excitement about the Nokia phone that can connect to the internet, is Given Clark's ground-breaking neuroscience work, I found this book underwhelming. There's a lot of interesting insights here, but nothing that isn't found in basic media studies texts like those of Lewis Mumford, Marshal McLuhan, etc. I do think had he incorporated more neuroscience work (like in his amazing recent book SURFING UNCERTAINTY), this book could have been more interesting. Also, reading this in 2018, and seeing his excitement about the Nokia phone that can connect to the internet, is a bit underwhelming. That isn't his fault, but just points to how dated this book reads today.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Bailey TaraBori

    Very interesting read, though I wish some of the hypothetical scenarios were either pared down or replaced with real world applications. Definitely gave me a new perspective on the idea of cyborgs and humans' relationship with technology. Very interesting read, though I wish some of the hypothetical scenarios were either pared down or replaced with real world applications. Definitely gave me a new perspective on the idea of cyborgs and humans' relationship with technology.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Nick Geiser

    A wonderful, compelling picture of how our technology has always been a part of thinking and how human beings might deepen their relationship to technology in the near future.

  9. 4 out of 5

    მეგი

    გამარკვიეთ ახლა, ამ კაცს ჩავაკითხო ინგლისში თუ ბრაიან ლარკინს ამერიკაში?

  10. 5 out of 5

    Autumn

    Boy oh boy was this ever uncomfortable. This book certainly has given me a lot to think about in terms of what the self is. Is my laptop a part of my 'self' because it is so integral to my life and stores so much information? The idea that it might be is upsetting, but that's probably why my professor had our class read this book. Boy oh boy was this ever uncomfortable. This book certainly has given me a lot to think about in terms of what the self is. Is my laptop a part of my 'self' because it is so integral to my life and stores so much information? The idea that it might be is upsetting, but that's probably why my professor had our class read this book.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Neil

    Clark's basic argument is that our technologies extend our minds. But he takes that much further than a metaphor. For Clark, the externalisation of cognition achieved through technology is literally and "scientifically" an extension of our own thoughts into external reality. Rather than limit the constituent parts of the self to the "biological skinbag" that's our brain and bodies, we can and should see cognitive operations performed through external tools as part of our own thought processes. C Clark's basic argument is that our technologies extend our minds. But he takes that much further than a metaphor. For Clark, the externalisation of cognition achieved through technology is literally and "scientifically" an extension of our own thoughts into external reality. Rather than limit the constituent parts of the self to the "biological skinbag" that's our brain and bodies, we can and should see cognitive operations performed through external tools as part of our own thought processes. Clark claims that this has been the case for as long as humans have been humans. This process started with writing, and is culminating in various technological innovations that aim to integrate computer technology into everyday practice. Clark presents a great deal of research into perception and cognition to demonstrate that, counter to intuitive feeling that our internal thoughts and senses are the fullest and most complete experience of reality possible, our senses and our brains actually perform innumerable shortcuts and make an awful lot of assumptions about the incomplete information that is actually parsed and processed. He uses this to argue that the human apparatus has no superior claim over external tools to be able to apprehend and make sense of reality. What Clark sees as the way of the future is technology that integrates into the human bodily experience. The possibilities of various future technologies are presented in terms of how they might help achieve this. Ubiquitous computing, invisible technologies, wearable computing: all represent various facets of how to computers might be more fully integrated into our overall cognitive apparatus: both the internal and external parts of it. Some of them are quite interesting, and Clark spends a great deal of time speculating about what new technologies might mean for our sense of who we are and where we feel ourselves to be when our available perceptions and possible activities have been extended through "human-centred" technologies. I suppose this also illustrates the problems with Clark's work. Amongst those technologists who branch out into the philosophical implications of their work, they seem to consistently full into the same attitude of naive humanism and uncritical attitude towards technological development which makes their philosophy rather problematic. Clark is no exception. The trend towards technologies of the self is seen by Clark as inevitable, due to what he claims is the "basic human nature to annex, exploit, and incorporate nonbiological stuff deep into our mental profiles". Perhaps. But that's a far cry from describing all of what human nature entails, and it's likewise only one of any number of potential human motivations for developing and seeking to diffuse technology. Clark gives very little thought to how the development of all these wonderful toys might relate to the real world, with all its problematic politics and its economic dictates. This is especially an issue once external cognition stops being an individual process, and various thoughts and ideas expressed in our tools come into contact - or conflict. The standpoint of seeing humans as "natural-born cyborgs", or as entities whose mental processes inherently exist as much outside our heads in tools as they do in our biological processes, is a highly useful one, and Clark supplies fairly good evidence to support the idea. But I disagree with his rosy assessment of the future based on this thesis, which seems to me based on the assumption that this thesis is the only incentive there is for technological development, and that technology is always developed and used for the benefit of all individuals equally. Neither are true.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Jacob

    I think this work really adds some needed ammunition to Clark's overall campaign for the controversial thesis of extended cognition. From what I've seen, much of the resistance to this thesis has been the result of his, and Chalmers, choice of examples (including the Alzheimer patient's notebook and strings tied around fingers). While these simple examples may have helped them in terms of clarity and precision, its seems that many have been led to believe that the theory does not encompass enoug I think this work really adds some needed ammunition to Clark's overall campaign for the controversial thesis of extended cognition. From what I've seen, much of the resistance to this thesis has been the result of his, and Chalmers, choice of examples (including the Alzheimer patient's notebook and strings tied around fingers). While these simple examples may have helped them in terms of clarity and precision, its seems that many have been led to believe that the theory does not encompass enough practical applications to be worthy of much attention. On the other end of the spectrum, there are those that worry that the EC thesis encompasses too much; can't I claim to know everything written in the books at my local library? Both these worries are put to rest through 1) Clark's expansion on past arguments: ex. undermining the idea that the 'skin-bag' is a principle boundary to cognition, the view of language as technology, the essential role of unconscious processing in cognition. 2) his development of new distinctions regarding various kinds of technologies: ex. transparent vs opaque techs, virtual reality vs augmented reality, some Heideggerian present-to-hand vs ready-to-hand. 3) and lastly his fascinating examples: ex. some goofball artist has managed to take transparent control of a prosthetic third arm via a small patch of arm muscles, a study on the role of pattern-recognizing and externalized representations in the creation of certain forms of abstract art. One issue I took with Clark had to do with his optimism about the future of our ever-extending modes of cognition. He pretty much has two bad arguments for it: A) extending and transforming cognition is nothing new and essentially human, thus, more of the same couldn't hurt and B) future technologies will be mostly optional and what's optional can't pose that much of a threat. This simplifies no doubt, but this more or less sums up how he sees the matter. It's strange to me that Clark's willing to take such a radical position on the nature of the self early in the book, only to appeal to a kind of Enlightenment position with B). I think his main failing here comes from not taking into account the nature of cultural change in modern times and the messy effects of capitalism (ideology) on all that he's so neatly laid out in this book. All the same, I found his strangely positive outlook refreshing; perhaps it can help to bring some balance to the freak outs induced by so many anxious continental theorists regarding technoculture.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Tim Kadlec

    Natural-Born Cyborgs offers an interesting perspective on the debate surrounding the integration of technology into everyday life. While Clark acknowledges some of the concerns surround posthumanism, he maintains a generally optimistic view of humanity's ability to successfully integrate technology into our lives, and of the benefits of doing so. His argument revolves around his belief that humans have always incorporated non-biological tools into their lives in order to counteract their limitati Natural-Born Cyborgs offers an interesting perspective on the debate surrounding the integration of technology into everyday life. While Clark acknowledges some of the concerns surround posthumanism, he maintains a generally optimistic view of humanity's ability to successfully integrate technology into our lives, and of the benefits of doing so. His argument revolves around his belief that humans have always incorporated non-biological tools into their lives in order to counteract their limitations - essentially that we are natural cyborgs. It's certainly an interesting discussion, and many of his arguments are very convincing. While I don't share his unadultered optimism (yes the plasticity of our brains allow us to change and adapt, but not all change is good) I do think he's right in talking down the dooms-day stance taken by so many people. Worth a read, even if you disagree, since it will give you plenty to contemplate.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Pi

    I definitely enjoyed Andy Clark's reiteration of his views on embodiment and the extended mind, his cleverly devised categorization of kinds of technologies, and his extensive use of examples and references. What bothered me, however, was his over-optimistic treatment of humanity's technological future. By focusing mainly on the potential benefits of mind-altering technologies (such as telepresence and transparent, yet tangible, brain-machine interfacing), he paid only cursory attention to some I definitely enjoyed Andy Clark's reiteration of his views on embodiment and the extended mind, his cleverly devised categorization of kinds of technologies, and his extensive use of examples and references. What bothered me, however, was his over-optimistic treatment of humanity's technological future. By focusing mainly on the potential benefits of mind-altering technologies (such as telepresence and transparent, yet tangible, brain-machine interfacing), he paid only cursory attention to some of the dangers, and almost no attention at all to the socio-economic causes and effects of technological development. Nevertheless, I would recommend this book to anyone interested in Cognitive Science and the extended mind. That being said, I also think some of Clark's other writings might be a better place to start.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Austin

    Yes I really am a doctor, however truth be told I got my Doctorate in Divinity online for 19.99 USD. But I still consider myself average intelligence even after I melted my mind in the 80's dancing with Jerry Garcia. I agree with the concept set forth in this book that we are cyborgs already with reliance on everything from pacemakers to Google. However Andy Clark was way too intellectual even for this old Doctor and like many professors, journalists and lawyers he tended to over plot as it were Yes I really am a doctor, however truth be told I got my Doctorate in Divinity online for 19.99 USD. But I still consider myself average intelligence even after I melted my mind in the 80's dancing with Jerry Garcia. I agree with the concept set forth in this book that we are cyborgs already with reliance on everything from pacemakers to Google. However Andy Clark was way too intellectual even for this old Doctor and like many professors, journalists and lawyers he tended to over plot as it were. We get it, you know a lot of stuff. Besides this book is so antiquated that the ubiquitous iPhone did not yet exist and thus Andy Clark could not even envision the day when everyone walking, driving or waiting on the bus would be completely mesmerized while frantically one-thumb flipping through the feed of an Orwellian nocturnal emission also known as Facebook.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Alexi Parizeau

    A fascinating analysis of our own potential. This was written a decade ago, so some of the examples are ancient history now, but Clark was increadibly accurate with his conclusions about where society was heading (and still is heading). Of personal importance, Clark's vision inspired me to think of new neural interfaces that I can develop to automate and enhance parts of my life (using the Muse brain sensor). I'm now excited to read his next book (even though it's also history, having been publi A fascinating analysis of our own potential. This was written a decade ago, so some of the examples are ancient history now, but Clark was increadibly accurate with his conclusions about where society was heading (and still is heading). Of personal importance, Clark's vision inspired me to think of new neural interfaces that I can develop to automate and enhance parts of my life (using the Muse brain sensor). I'm now excited to read his next book (even though it's also history, having been published in 2008).

  17. 4 out of 5

    Servius Heiner

    It is just amazing how close we are to achieving SciFi level technologies... where will the next 10 years take us. He talks about a researcher that e-mails his wife orgasms, and eye implants linked to "your" network where simply talking to someone will activate you internal computer and pull up all related information, including the topics of your last conversation with said person, and display it directly to your vision, really neat stuff. If you are a tech junky you will love this book. It is just amazing how close we are to achieving SciFi level technologies... where will the next 10 years take us. He talks about a researcher that e-mails his wife orgasms, and eye implants linked to "your" network where simply talking to someone will activate you internal computer and pull up all related information, including the topics of your last conversation with said person, and display it directly to your vision, really neat stuff. If you are a tech junky you will love this book.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Matt

    This books is a pretty interesting and engaging defense of the extended mind hypothesis, which states that human cognition extends beyond the "skin bag". Most of this book discusses various technologies and how it either aids or actually instantiates human thought. The philosophy is a bit light, though. This books is a pretty interesting and engaging defense of the extended mind hypothesis, which states that human cognition extends beyond the "skin bag". Most of this book discusses various technologies and how it either aids or actually instantiates human thought. The philosophy is a bit light, though.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Izlinda

    I read this book for my "Technology and Cognition" course my final college semester. It is a quick read. Andy Clark writes about new "cyborg" technologies in layman language. I found his links useful though I didn't go to all the websites listed. While I may disagree with some of his points it opened my eyes to a lot of new things. Also, he loves his sound bites. I read this book for my "Technology and Cognition" course my final college semester. It is a quick read. Andy Clark writes about new "cyborg" technologies in layman language. I found his links useful though I didn't go to all the websites listed. While I may disagree with some of his points it opened my eyes to a lot of new things. Also, he loves his sound bites.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Bryan Ma

    A valuable perspective on the post-human idea, in stating that our cognition and identity has always been plastic enough to make us essentially biotechnology hybrids, from the beginning of tools and language - the only difference is that now our technology can respond to us too. A technology/humanism perspective shift up there with the likes of Dennett's work on consciousness and free will. A valuable perspective on the post-human idea, in stating that our cognition and identity has always been plastic enough to make us essentially biotechnology hybrids, from the beginning of tools and language - the only difference is that now our technology can respond to us too. A technology/humanism perspective shift up there with the likes of Dennett's work on consciousness and free will.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Ben

    I'd love to see an updated version of those book with the ever more integrated mobile lifestyle, and many countries bypassing the land line entirely for mobile phones. There is a lot to think about in terms of the argument he presents, though many people will have issues with it. Still, glad I read it as a technologist. I'd love to see an updated version of those book with the ever more integrated mobile lifestyle, and many countries bypassing the land line entirely for mobile phones. There is a lot to think about in terms of the argument he presents, though many people will have issues with it. Still, glad I read it as a technologist.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Alice Lesnick

    I sincerely recommend this book. It's a fascinating account of how the human brain is built to "dovetail" with technology, culture, and other brains, and with elements of itself -- and how this has ever been the case. Clark provides an imaginative and elegant framework with which to think about current and emergent tech. I sincerely recommend this book. It's a fascinating account of how the human brain is built to "dovetail" with technology, culture, and other brains, and with elements of itself -- and how this has ever been the case. Clark provides an imaginative and elegant framework with which to think about current and emergent tech.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Chauncey

    This could be a fun proto-philosophy book to share with a smart pre-college student. It makes plausible the extended mind thesis, but suffers from a lack of real consideration of the implausibility of that thesis.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Erin

    our minds are already set to use tools, making things easier on the body. by using technology, we are freeing the mind to think of our world in a different way. using technology like computers is just one more tool. we are cyborgs by nature.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Gerald Jerome

    One of the interesting points of this book is how technology has continually catered to man's needs and they both feed and cycle into the growth of each other. One of the interesting points of this book is how technology has continually catered to man's needs and they both feed and cycle into the growth of each other.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Chris

    A bit over-futuristic. Also interesting accurate predictions.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Ashanan

    An excellent overview of the state of extended consciousness. The author's style got on my nerves at times, but it was definitely a worthwhile read. An excellent overview of the state of extended consciousness. The author's style got on my nerves at times, but it was definitely a worthwhile read.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Jordan DeLong

  29. 4 out of 5

    David

  30. 4 out of 5

    Nicholas Sabo

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