Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Networks are my sunshine, tools are my guidance

Try to image a machine with a plan. Image an articulated series of clogs and circuit, Stretch your futuristic-fed imagination to your limits. 
Bring the fantasies of a Golem, with the technological visions of electrical augmented cognition. 

Good, now take a pair of scissors.

This is my object. Scissors carry the technology of a tool, intentionally projected to do its job.
I understand that the plot incorporated in paper cutters it is not exactly convoluted and Machiavellian enough for a TV series, yet there is something there.
There is intelligence to foresee a task, retrieve material in the surrounding to build and finally the executive portion of actual manufacturing. Not yet thrilled? OK, there is more. Scissors are also offering  guidance for the behavioural task of the agent. This is why there are right and left-handed scissors. If you wear the object, the tool will facilitate the execution. Tools guide your actions.

Now take your car and drive it. It’s handy, comfortable and enlarge your radius of action. And your waist, since the diminishing physical activity. Good. You can easily figure out how much intelligence in building a car and the rest. But this time try to drive your car from N’Djamena to Tripoli across the Sahara desert. What is the problem? Oh, you don’t find your sissy damper so comfortable on an African road? And wait a sec, but your tank looks so skinny and emaciated: only 800 kms. And where do you think you are going? Most of all: what do you think you are doing now? Petrol station? Oh, so sorry, the closest one is in Morocco. Bye Bye. 
What is the point? 
Well, paved roads and a network of petrol stations are extensions of a car. The car itself, alone, doesn’t work so well. Try to image what it means to have just one cellular phone: no antennas, no other devices. It is just a bunch of rare metals: no clock, no Candy Crush, no selfies. Oh, and no calls. Networks are the extension of a tool.

Now let's think to human brains. A bunch of organic matter, with some electricity, nutrients. To me it sounds like paper and flushing devices.
No surprise it is difficult to image consciousness in a “machine”. It is better when you place the brain in a body (or whatever will give responses like a body: say a vat and a supercomputer).
Now put that body in an ecological niche.
Much better, now we have some thoughts. And it was like that for a good 70-80k years. In fact anatomically modern human beings appeared on this planet around 150k. But only 60-70k years ago we started to discover behaviourally modern human beings.
What happened?
Tools and network. Cultural tools and cultural networks.  

We started to run procedures and practice that guided our actions. And also we infrastructured our brains in a network of referrals, extended cognitive workspace and projected meanings. THIS is the mind technology and it runs on narrative highways. In a nutshell your self-consciousness is the focus of a stream of cognitive holograms distributed narratively from all the accelerated brains that concurred to your platform of stories. 


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