Friday, January 14, 2011

More or less human? We are all cyborgs now (Amber Case)

Image representing Amber Case as depicted in C...Image by Kris Krug (used with permission) via CrunchBaseThis video shows a thought-provoking, if rather controversial presentation by Amber Case. The whole notion of whether we are more, or less, human when we use technology in the way we currently do is a hot topic.

Reading through the comments underneath the video on the TED site shows a wide range of emotions (for example, fear, excitement, anger) inspired by the notions she discusses. Other comment posters have chosen to share their own experiences, while yet others have checked out (online) the credentials ('second selves') of a couple of the community engaged in the conversations.

Taking a step back, what Amber presents is, in a way, enacted in miniature by the TED community, who are involved in a discussion that would not be possible without the technologies used. The TED community may not be bosom pals, or even 'know' each other at any level, but would they be exchanging ideas and opinions...and building connections so easily without it? Cogito ergo sum - "I think therefore I am" was stated in 1644 by Descartes. So, by taking advantage of these increased opportunities to think, share ideas, connect, agree and disagree, are we becoming more or less human?

The write up on the TED site reads: "Technology is evolving us, says Amber Case, as we become a screen-staring, button-clicking new version of homo sapiens. We now rely on "external brains" (cell phones and computers) to communicate, remember, even live out secondary lives. But will these machines ultimately connect or conquer us? Case offers surprising insight into our cyborg selves."

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