Natural-Born Cyborgs? Reflections on Bodies, Minds, and Human Enhancement
We are entering an age of widespread human enhancement. The technologies range from wearable, implantable, and pervasive computing, to new forms of onboard sensing, thought-controlled equipment, prosthetic legs able to win track races, and on to the humble but transformative iPhone. But what really matters is the way we are, as a result of this tidal wave of self- re-engineering opportunity, just starting to know ourselves: not as firmly bounded biological organisms but as delightfully reconfigurable nodes in a flux of information, communication, and action. This gives us a new opportunity to look at ourselves, and to ask the fundamental question: Where does the mind stop, and the rest of the world begin?
Andy Clark is Professor of Logic and Metaphysics in the School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences, at Edinburgh University in Scotland. Before that he was Professor of Philosophy and Director of the Cognitive Science Program at Indiana University, Bloomington, USA. Previous posts include Professor of Philosophy and Cognitive Science at the University of Sussex, UK, and Professor of Philosophy and Director of the Philosophy/ Neuroscience/ Psychology (PNP) Program at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, USA.
He is the author of Being There: Putting Brain, Body And World Together Again (MIT Press, 1997), Mindware (Oxford University Press, 2001), Natural-Born Cyborgs: Minds, Technologies and the Future of Human Intelligence (Oxford University Press, 2003), and Supersizing the Mind:
Embodiment, Action, and Cognitive Extension (Oxford University Press, 2008). His research interests include robotics and artificial life, the cognitive role of human-built structures, specialization and interactive dynamics in neural systems, and the interplay between language, thought, socio-technological scaffolding, and action. He is currently working on predictive coding models of neural function.
The presentation is open to students, faculty, staff, and the community.
Sponsored by Rensselaer's Office of the Provost and the School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences