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One Step Closer To Cyborghood

Tools appear to become part of your brain’s body map when you use them. “When you brush your teeth, the toothbrush may actually become part of your arm – at least as far as your brain is concerned.

Why would the same not be true of your mental map? Integrating an exocortex into your mind may be easier than you think.


  1. Nina wrote:

    Interesting idea, although it seems pertinent to point out that you’re equating body maps to mind maps. Why this division of the human being into a mind and a body? For argument’s sake, let’s accept that the two are seperate, for now.
    By equating using a toothbrush with using an exocortex, you imply that the same ‘pattern’ of brainwave activity takes place. I’m struggling with this, as it seems to me that the two would be different.
    Clearly, integrating complex functions into our physical awareness is not a problem. Very few of us think of every motion made during driving, it’s not “push this thingy up, then push the middle pedal, shove this lever here then brake and wiggle the round thingy”, it’s simply “turn left”. A whole car has become part of your physical awareness.
    However, no ammount of using a calculator (a primitive exocortex, in some ways) makes certain mathematical procedures become absorbed into your mental awareness (or mental map, in your terminology). In fact, it seems to me that these relegate certain functions away from the brain, theoretically leaving it free to do other things, but, sadly, often becoming a crutch.
    My question, then, is whether an exocortex can ever be assimilated into our mental maps to the extent that you are suggesting.

    Admittedly, before I stumbled across your blog, an ‘exocortex’ was some strange scientist with a brain in a jar. If my question simply reflects my ignorance, I will happily stand corrected.

    Monday, February 15, 2010 at 22:41 | Permalink
  2. Gustav Bertram wrote:

    I base my theory on the fact that using Wikipedia and Google has become so reflexive to me that I don’t have to think about it any more, in the same way that I don’t think about driving.

    I believe that when we get around to having truly portable computers with small screens directly in front of our eyes, that this look-up reflex will become even more ingrained.

    Saying that such a device would be a crutch is like saying that cars, or even writing is a crutch.

    I’m excited by the possibilities for intelligence amplification such an integrated device would yield.

    Tuesday, February 16, 2010 at 00:30 | Permalink

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