Thinking about ‘self’- extending mind and body to incorporate technology

One of my longtime friends and colleagues shared a clip on Facebook from a TedX talk and invited comments. I opened it up a new tab and this morning I had a chance to watch the 15 minute clip. I am writing these details because, if you reflect on my blog you will notice that it is becoming an example of what David Chalmers is talking about in this clip. People do ask me why I blog, and the key reason is that it is another way of using the ‘cloud’ and technologies to remember for me. I can write and reflect on various topics, all relating to my journey in my PhD and life at this time. It is stored in the ‘cloud’ and I can look at it when I need, and access links, and information (like my recipes) when I need them.  In time, I will be able to reflect on my whole journey, hopefully see growth in my writing and ideas as I emerge at the other end of this intensive learning journey.  So I invite you to watch and ponder the clip that got me thinking, thanks to the ‘extended consciousness’ now available via Facebook and my generous friend and colleague.

What did you think? Did David’s metaphor resonate with you? I liked the notebook, it is a reminder that humans have always relied on external storage for ideas and memories. The existence of the smart phone is making the storage of this information more secure (if you sync that is). I know my smartphone has reduced the level of stress in my life, as my appointments, phone numbers and Evernote are input and synced without me having to remember…and should the phone get stolen/lost I have it all backed up in the cloud.

I am also interested in how we identify ourselves using this technology. David touched on the idea that ‘google is making us smarter’. Indeed I feel less pressure to remember the trivia I used to, and know that I can use the expanse of the internets’  “collective consciousness” to find out anything I need to know in a ‘just in time’ capacity. From this paragraph perhaps you can see that I feel connected to and a part of this collective consciousness.  In my emerging self as an academic,  my self as a mother and wife, my self as a teacher, friend, and tatter, I draw on the ‘affordances’ of technology. This means that I use technology (my laptop, smartphone and internet for example) to store, source and synthesise a wide range of things in my life. Years ago I used notebooks and post-it notes, now it is mostly my smartphone, yet all of this has the same end purpose: to store and support my brain in recalling things important in my life.  I wonder how you ‘identify yourself’ using technology? Do they form an integral part of your life or professional identity?

Happy Father’s day to My Dad, WH and all the dads out there

Fiona T




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