The case of the use of the abacus by Japanese school children and adults provides an illustration of how thoroughly the historical processes involved in the development of a tool’s use becomes incorporated into a culture-specific technology while simultaneously becoming a part of human nature ..
We Have Met Technology and It Is Us

Cole & Derry 2005

Manuel, Cho and Sam are talking about the following paper:
Enhancement, ethics and society: ..

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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

Manuel

Let’s get down to earth again. Prosthetics generally replace a missing limb, but cognitive tools seem to do something different, right?

Today 15:48  

Cho

Limb or organ, but OK  😊                                                               

Today 15:50  

Sam

The categories do overlap though, you can definitely see some brain implants as cognitive tools

Today 15:51   

Manuel

OK, examples? 😉

Today 15:51  

Sam

Deep Brain stimulation to improve memory in Alzheimer patients 

Today 15:52   

Cho

Indeed, and this also improves memory in non-impaired people, so can be considered an enhancement too

Today 15:52  

Manuel

Right, so cognitive tools aren’t just handheld devices, but can also be prosthetics or implants

Today 15:53 

Manuel

With all the tools and technologies we have nowadays, do we live in some kind of sci-fi future? 👾

Today 15:53 

Sam

Ha! 🤔 I’m sure some would see it as a dystopia! Everything controlled by computers we no longer understand …

Today 15:54   

Cho

That actually is a serious issue. Things have gotten incredibly complex and no single person understand everything anymore

Today 15:55  

Cho

Just think of surgery: most surgeries require a large team and a lot of infrastructure, not just a dude with a saw …

Today 15:55

Sam

That’s right, same thing for computers. Remember the y2k panic? Year 2000 problem

Today 15:56   

Sam

People thought the millennium bug would cause the end of the world!

Today 15:56   

Sam

Both individual computers and especially computer networks have become hugely complex. Not just two guys in a garage…

Today 15:57   

Manuel

Ok, so a lot more specialization and collaboration.

Today 15:58  

Cho

Sam mentioned brain prosthetics earlier: it won’t be long before we have brain prosthetics with AI

Today 15:59  

Cho

I’m quite sure that this would be considered an enhancement by most, and scary by many.

Today 15:59  

Sam

Right, it might not be literally rocket science, but it does bring together two of the most complex and advanced fields

Today 16:00   

Manuel

Computers and the brain, neither of which we fully understand yet?

Today 16:01  

Sam

Well, we design the computers, but artificial neural networks are indeed hard to explain

Today 16:01   

Cho

Asking people to let an implant “do their thinking for them” requires a lot of trust

Today 16:02  

Manuel

Wow, this has been great, thank you both so much for your input! 😊

Today 16:03  

… Continue reading our conversations that are posted every Saturday …

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