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technology and mind




Natural-Born Cyborgs: Why Minds and Technologies Are Made to Merge by Andy Clark

This paragraph captures important ideas in this book:
"What we really need to reject, I suggest, is the seductive idea that all these various neural and non-neural tools need a kind of privileged user. Instead, it is tools all the way down. Some of those tools are indeed more closely implicated in our conscious awareness of the world than others. But those elements, taken on their own, would fall embarrassingly short of re-constituting any recognizable version of a human mind or of an individual person. Some elements, likewise, are more important to our sense of self and identity than others. And some elements play larger roles in control and decision-making than others. But this divide, like the ones before it, tends to cross-cut the inner and the outer, the biological and the non-biological. Different neural circuits provide different capacities, and all contribute in different ways to our sense of self, of where we are, of what we can do, and to decision-making and choice. External, non-biological elements provide still further capacities, and contribute in additional ways to our sense of who we are, where we are, what we can do, and to decision-making and choice. But no single tool amongst this complex kit is intrinsically thoughtful, ultimately in control, or the 'seat of the self'. We (we human individuals) just are these shifting coalitions of tools. We are "soft-selves," continuously open to change and driven to leak through the confines of skin and skull, annexing more and more non-biological elements as aspects of the machinery of mind itself."

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