Today, I looked at my flatmate – crouched over his laptop, phased out into the digital dimension and busy with work. “I probably look exactly like him” – my first thought was. Suddenly, I remembered something I read on the topic of embodiment:
“The environment is part of the cognitive system. The information flow between mind and world is so dense and continuous that, for scientists studying the nature of cognitive activity, the mind alone is not a meaningful unit of analysis.” This statement means that the production of cognitive activity does not come from the mind alone, but rather is a mixture of the mind and the environmental situation that we are in. These interactions become part of our cognitive systems. Our thinking, decision-making, and future are all impacted by our environmental situations.
Basically, what I get from this wiki article is that humans see the world as an extension of themselves and utilize their surroundings to fulfill their intentions (offloading tasks, for example, as in writing down notes instead of memorizing).
Now, what does it have to do with my flatmate? Well, I think this explains why people are so immersed into computers that they spend hours a day in an unnatural pose. See, the computer is a powerful tool – it can do many of the things we find difficult (memorizing, maths, wireless communication across the globe) with ease. This is why, when presented the opportunity, we gladly accept it into our cognitive mind as a part of us, loose ourselves into it, feel no hunger, no pain. The benefits are big – we get super powers, basically (WIFI is damn close to telepathy, don’t you think?).
So all is fine, nothing wrong with us… but wait! Back pains, eyesight problems, general health issues – all result from this “pairing”, us and the computer. And that’s a problem. If we agree that everything we do is well within our nature, then the computer must be to blame. And indeed, I claim that the health issues we face are due to how inconvenient computers are… have been so far, at least. This is changing!
Google glass is just one example of how technology is becoming more intuitive and unobtrusive. We need to wait till next year, when it comes out, to see if it will live up to the hype, but it is certainly a step in the right direction for me.
Now, I blabbered for enough. What do you think?