Manual Cognition And Technology: Co-existence, Convergence And Co-evolution

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Ali, Syed Mustafa Cognition And Technology: co-existence, convergence and co-evolution. Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing Co. In this paper, the possibility of developing a Heideggerian solution to the Schizophrenia Problem associated with cognitive technologies is investigated.

This problem arises as a result of the computer bracketing emotion from cognition during human-computer interaction and results in human psychic self-amputation. It is argued that in order to solve the Schizophrenia Problem, it is necessary to first solve the 'hard problem' of consciousness since emotion is at least partially experiential.

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Heidegger's thought, particularly as interpreted by Hubert Dreyfus, appears relevant in this regard since it ostensibly provides the basis for solving the 'hard problem' via the construction of artificial systems capable of the emergent generation of conscious experience. Herskovits Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill. Wickens, C. Engineering Psychology and Human Performance. New York: Harper Collins.

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Body moves and tacit knowing - Middlesex University Research Repository

Wittgenstein, L. Philosophical Investigations.

Emotion and cognition in prejudice - Individuals and Society - MCAT - Khan Academy

A sketch The study of Cognitive Technology is, in a very real sense, the study of ourselves. Who we are, what we are, and even where we are, are all jointly determined by our biological natures and the web of supporting and constraining technologies in which we live, work and dream. We humans, I would argue, are naturally pre-disposed in ways unique to our species to create cascading torrents of non-biological structure within which to think and act. For we are, and long have been, bio-technological symbionts: reasoning and thinking systems spread across biological matter and the delicately codetermined gossamers of our socio-technological nest.

This tendency towards bio-technological hybridisation is not an especially modern development. On the contrary, it is an aspect of our humanity which is as basic and ancient as the use of speech, and which has been extending its territory ever since. Such technologies, once up-and-running in the various appliances and institutions 26 Andy Clark that surround us, do far more than merely allow for the external storage and transmission of ideas.

They actively re-structure the forms and contents of human thought itself. And there is no turning back. New waves of user-sensitive technology will bring this ageold process to a climax, as our minds and identities become ever more deeply enmeshed in a non-biological matrix of machines and tools, including software agents, vast searchable databases, and daily objects with embedded intelligence of their own. Such technologies will be less like tools and more like part of the mental apparatus of the person. They will remain tools in only the thin and ultimately paradoxical sense in which my own unconsciously operating neural structures my hippocampus, my posterior parietal cortex are tools.

There is no user quite so ephemeral. Rather, the operation of the brain makes me who and what I am. So, too, with these new waves of sensitive, interactive technologies. As our worlds become smarter, and get to know us better and better, it becomes harder and harder to say where the world stops and the person begins. What are these technologies?

They are many, and various. They include potent, portable machinery linking the user to an increasingly responsive worldwide-web. This brief note, however, is not going to be about new technology. Rather, it is about us, about our sense of self, and about the nature of the human mind. The goal is not to guess at what we might soon become, but to better appreciate what we already are: creatures whose minds are special precisely because they are naturally geared for multiple mergers and coalitions. Cognitive technologies, ancient and modern, are best understood I suggest as deep and integral parts of the problem-solving systems we identify as human intelligence.

They are best seen as proper parts of the computational apparatus that constitutes our minds. If we do not always see this, or if the idea seems outlandish or absurd, that is because we are in the grip of a simple prejudice: the prejudice that whatever matters about MY mind must depend solely on what goes on inside my own biological skin-bag, inside the ancient fortress of skin and skull.

But this fortress has been built to be breached. Thus consider two brief examples: one old see the Epilogue to Clark, and one new. Take the familiar process of writing an academic paper. But this is misleading. We began, perhaps, by looking over some old notes, then turned to some original sources. As we read, our brain generated a few fragmentary, on-the-spot responses which were duly stored as marks on the page, or in the margins. This cycle repeats, pausing to loop back to the original plans and sketches, amending them in the same fragmentary, on-the-spot fashion.

But it is not the whole story. And it is this larger system which solves the problem. The intelligent process just is the spatially and temporally extended one which zigzags between brain, body and world. The question the authors pursue is: why the need to sketch? Certain forms of abstract art, Van Leeuwen et al.


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This description of artistic creativity is strikingly similar, it seems to me, to our story about academic creativity. The sketch-pad is not just a convenience for the artist, nor simply a kind of external memory or durable medium for the storage of particular ideas. Instead, the iterated process of externalising and re-perceiving is integral to the process of artistic cognition itself. Computational engines of that broad class prove extremely good at tasks such as sensori-motor co-ordination, face recognition, voice recognition, etc.

But they are not well-suited to deductive logic, planning, and the typical tasks of sequential reasoning. Yet Towards a science of the bio-technological mind alien, because we repeatedly transcend these limits, planning family vacations, running economies, solving complex sequential problems, etc. Thus, to borrow the classic illustration, we may tackle the problem of long multiplication by using pen, paper and numerical symbols. See Norman for further discussion. The conjecture, then, is that one large jump or discontinuity in human cognitive evolution involves the distinctive way human brains repeatedly create and exploit various species of cognitive technology so as to expand and re-shape the space of human reason.

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In this way human brains maintain an intricate cognitive dance with an ecologically novel, and immensely empowering, environment: the world of symbols, media, formalisms, texts, speech, instruments and culture. I believe, however, that the idea of human cognition as subsisting in a hybrid, extended architecture one which includes aspects of the brain and of the cognitive technological envelope in which our brains develop and operate remains vastly underappreciated.

We cannot understand what is special and distinctively powerful about human thought and reason by simply paying lip-service to the importance of the web of surrounding Cognitive Technologies. Instead, we need to understand in detail how our brains dovetail their problem-solving activities to these additional resources, and how the larger systems thus created operate, change and evolve.

In addition, and perhaps more philosophically, we need to understand that the very ideas of minds and persons are not limited to the biological skin-bag, and that our sense of self, place and potential are all malleable constructs ready to expand, change or contract at surprisingly short notice. This is new territory, and even the shape of the major problems and issues remains largely up for grabs. But some major ones look to me to include: 2.


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Towards a science of the bio-technological mind This is a serious, important and largely unresolved question. Instead we humans are, by nature, products of a complex and heterogeneous developmental matrix in which culture, technology and biology are pretty well inextricably intermingled. For the tools and culture are indeed as much determiners of our nature as products of it. At the very least we must now take into account a plastic evolutionary overlay which yields a constantly moving target, an extended cognitive architecture whose constancy lies mainly in its continual openness to change.

Even granting that the biological innovations which got this ball rolling may have consisted only in some small tweaks to an ancestral repertoire, the upshot of this subtle alteration was a massive leap in cognitive potential. What educational and social policies best serve a race of constantly changing bio-technological hybrids? How can contemporary art help us to better understand these aspects of our nature? Performance artists like Stelarc www.

Cognitive Linguistics: Convergence and Expansion

Brains need to be plastic enough to factor the technologies deep into their problem-solving routines. We urgently need to understand the multiple factors and forces that shape this complex dynamic. See, e. For example, there is interesting work comparing reasoning using selfconstructed external props e. For both the above, see Cox, Such an understanding would also have immediate implications for the design process itself see Norman, ; Dourish, How can new technologies help us make the most of this resource? But the potential is vast. For some discussion, see Bonabeau and Theraulez Or should we be creating new analytic tools and approaches, perhaps borrowing ideas from dynamical systems theory and the study of complex, coupled systems see, e.

In my own recent work e. Here, the external aids turn the problems that need to be solved to perform a given task into the kinds of problems brains like ours like best e. Such agents act so as to keep the environment steady in ways that allow the easy reuse of once-successful plans and stratagems e. Do we need just one or all of these concepts and are there more? Do they all emerge as special cases of some deeper organizing principle? And within what kinds of explanatory framework are they best deployed?

Conclusions The project of understanding human thought and reason is easily misconstrued. It is misconstrued as the project of understanding what is special about the human brain. No doubt there is something special about our brains. Turning this kind of vision into a genuine science of the bio-technological mind is a massive task, calling for interdisciplinary co-operation on a whole new scale. I hope and believe that this volume will contribute to a crucial forum for that important endeavor.

References Bonabeau, E. Theraulaz Swarm Smarts. March Chambers, D. Reisberg Can Mental Images Be Ambiguous? Carruthers Eds.