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Technology & Innovation

Our New Synthetic Brains

Are iPhones and Blackberries becoming extensions of our thinking selves? Andy Clark says they are a kind of cognitive prosthetic that fits the niche of our biological brains.

Is it possible that, sometimes at least, some of the activity that enables us to be the thinking, knowing, agents that we are occurs outside the brain? … This kind of idea is currently being explored by a wave of scientists and philosophers working in the areas known as “embodied cognition” and “the extended mind.” Uniting these fields is the thought that evolution and learning don’t give a jot what resources are used to solve a problem. There is no more reason, from the perspective of evolution or learning, to favor the use of a brain-only cognitive strategy than there is to favor the use of canny combinations of brain, body and world.


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