Week Four (week beginning March 19): “Global Mnemotechnics”—Globalising Memory, Thinking and Action ; Key Word: Embodied

18 Mar

Think about the historical advancement of mobile phones to the domination of Iphone generations nowadays. Think about the advent of television to the micro-device enabled ‘walking TV’. Think about the numerous chips inserted into a computer to the chip transponder implanted into humankind to be a cyborg… We are constantly in relation with mnemotechnological apparatuses (Stiegler) of all kinds. Human beings themselves update their knowledge and skills of using technologies from zero to interactively immersing into the elements embodied in them. As a result, these technologies become integral parts of human body, which exteriorize the embodied thinking of humans. The tech-devices extend the visible by extending where we are as well as the reenactment of the basics of life and presentation of the mind as socially situated beings (Noë et al., 2008). However, humans’ increasingly dependence on technologies makes them more restricted within the capacity of the tech-devices as opposed to the further growth of memory and knowledge by individuals’ brains. Interestingly, this does not mean the fall-behind of human-beings. Instead, human-beings are now exploring alternative ways to try to upgrade human species by implanting the high-tech embodiment into human bodies.

Here is an example of the world’s first cyborg, Kevin Warwick, a researcher and professor of cybernetics at the University of Reading in England. He implanted a silicon chip transponder into his left arm and connected it to his nervous system in 1998 (Warwick).

What Warwick emphasizes and is trying to achieve is to make the external information physically inserted into human body with the connection to tech-devices to upgrade human species. Warwick implanted a silicon chip into his nervous system with 100 electros, which can plug into the computer and then send neuron signals from his brain to computer to control things. Excitingly, Warwick’s wife also implanted a chip into her neuron system, which link their nervous system together. As a result, their communication is telegraphically − nervous-system to nervous-system. Warwick claimed that “brain-to-brain communication will be the next step”.

One of the interesting point Warwick made is that we may not need schools or universities if knowledge could be downloaded into our brains. If brain-to-brain communication was achieved, individuals could improve or upgrade their own capabilities and intelligence that they were not gifted with by connecting with other better-developed brains. As a result, globalising memory, thinking and action were connected like a ‘global brain village’. Everyone within the globe could communicate super-efficiently through implanted chips, and that would be the legendary human revolution.

Noë, Alva and Solano, Marlon Barrios 2008, ‘dance as a way of knowing: interview with Alva Noë’, <;.
Stiegler, Bernard (n.d.) ‘Anamnesis and Hypomnesis: Plato as the first thinker of the proletarianisation’,  <;.
Warwick, K (n.d.) ‘CYBORG LIFE – Talking to Kevin Warwick’, <;.

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Posted by on March 18, 2012 in Arts3091


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