The distinction between a “tool” and a prosthesis that is implanted into the body is more apparent than real. …

Anderson 2007

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:

      1. Vlada Karpovich from Pexels
      2. Ivy Son from Pexels
      3. 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

Group Chat

Manuel, Cho, Sam

Sam

I’m not sure these count as prosthetics or enhancement, but we all use devices to improve ourselves

Today 15:44   

Sam

I use GPS, map, and navigation software to plan my route, but I could do it on my own

Today 15:44   

Sam

But for people with cognitive impairments devices like that become essential for day to day activities

Today 15:45   

Manuel

I see what you mean: one person’s enhancement is another person’s cure, so to say

Today 15:48  

Cho

The same happens in medicine, where sensors and smart devices are use to speed recovery, say, in physiotherapy

Today 15:50  

Cho

but also to help athletes reach peak performance. Restoring and enhancing are on the same slippery slope

Today 15:50  

Manuel

Can we compare cognitive tools to “prosthetics for the mind”?

Today 15:51  

Sam

That sounds a bit weird, but maybe? I mean, pencil and paper would qualify as cognitive tool …

Today 15:51   

Cho

If you put shoes in the same category as prosthetic legs, sure, but it stretches the usual meaning quite a bit

Today 15:52  

Manuel

OK, maybe that goes too far, and indeed we all seem to use tools like that all the time. So we’re all enhanced?

Today 15:53 

Sam

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

Today 15:54   

Cho

Indeed, replicating the same functionality but with different means, isn’t really enhancement

Today 15:54  

Manuel

Right, so if we just keep doing the same things, but now with tools, it’s not really enhancement?

Today 15:55  

Cho

Think about this example: people used to have to memorize a lot of things, like phone numbers

Today 15:56  

Cho

Now we can just look them up. It is quicker, but not radically different

Today 15:56  

Sam

Right, we can make calls from the middle of nowhere, instead from a fixed phone, but that’s just improvements in infrastructure

Today 15:57   

Sam

I mean, we wouldn’t consider switching cars for horses an “enhancement” in the human body or functionality?

Today 15:57   

Manuel

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?

Today 15:58  

Cho

That’s an interesting point … also from a medical point of view. Better hygiene, antibiotics, vaccines, give us incredible lifespans compared to cavemen

Today 15:59  

Sam

And better communication and transportation have allowed for very different types of societies. So out tools do make us better!

Today 15:59   

Manuel

Better humans? Superior humans?

Today 16:00  

Cho

Ouch, that sounds wrong. Maybe better at being human?                 

Today 16:00  

Sam

Ok, fair enough, that sounds more like it

Today 16:01   

Manuel

So as individuals and as humanity we have progressed through tool use and by further integration with our tools …

Today 16:02  

… Continue reading our conversations that are posted every Saturday …

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