Extending mind through technology: not yet

An article in the Huffington Post speculates on the potential for technological devices to act as extensions of mind, inasmuch as mental activity that used to take place within the human skull is now effectively outsourced to The Cloud or to a small constellation of memory retrieval and calculating devices.

The Extended Mind hypothesis of David Chalmers and Andy Clark is invoked in support of the idea that the outsourcing of certain activities of mind bestows a kind of mind identity on the external device, when really all that has happened is that a slave has been identified to assume a function, creating the usual sort of co-dependency that typifies master-slave relationships.

But the fact that an external technological device has taken on a function previously assumed by the mind does not entail that the device itself becomes a mind, or an extension of a mind. A memory aid is a memory aid. When it can assume more of the contextualising work previously done by the mind in understanding the what or why of the memory or the sum, it might make more sense to accord it a status upgrade.

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