Going Into a Limb
The distinction between a “tool” and a prosthesis that is implanted into the body is more apparent than real. …
Manuel, Cho and Sam are talking about the following paper:
Neuro-Prosthetics, the Extended Mind, and Respect for Persons with Disability
In this post the images comes from:
- Vlada Karpovich from Pexels
- Ivy Son from Pexels
- Anna Shvets from Pexels
In this post the dialogue is realised by an interaction of virtual characters, for more information please check the page “Virtual characters“
Manuel, Cho, Sam
I’m not sure these count as prosthetics or enhancement, but we all use devices to improve ourselves
I use GPS, map, and navigation software to plan my route, but I could do it on my own
But for people with cognitive impairments devices like that become essential for day to day activities
I see what you mean: one person’s enhancement is another person’s cure, so to say
The same happens in medicine, where sensors and smart devices are use to speed recovery, say, in physiotherapy
but also to help athletes reach peak performance. Restoring and enhancing are on the same slippery slope
Can we compare cognitive tools to “prosthetics for the mind”?
That sounds a bit weird, but maybe? I mean, pencil and paper would qualify as cognitive tool …
If you put shoes in the same category as prosthetic legs, sure, but it stretches the usual meaning quite a bit
OK, maybe that goes too far, and indeed we all seem to use tools like that all the time. So we’re all enhanced?
Depends on what your baseline is. I’ve got a smartwatch, but my grandfather could tell the time and predict the weather just by looking at the sky
Indeed, replicating the same functionality but with different means, isn’t really enhancement
Right, so if we just keep doing the same things, but now with tools, it’s not really enhancement?
Think about this example: people used to have to memorize a lot of things, like phone numbers
Now we can just look them up. It is quicker, but not radically different
Right, we can make calls from the middle of nowhere, instead from a fixed phone, but that’s just improvements in infrastructure
I mean, we wouldn’t consider switching cars for horses an “enhancement” in the human body or functionality?
I guess not, but shouldn’t we then discuss overall progress too? Like at the level of humanity, aren’t we all enhanced in a sense?
That’s an interesting point … also from a medical point of view. Better hygiene, antibiotics, vaccines, give us incredible lifespans compared to cavemen
And better communication and transportation have allowed for very different types of societies. So out tools do make us better!
Better humans? Superior humans?
Ouch, that sounds wrong. Maybe better at being human?
Ok, fair enough, that sounds more like it
So as individuals and as humanity we have progressed through tool use and by further integration with our tools …
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