, Volume 17, Issue 1, pp 117-120
Date: 14 Nov 2006

Andy Clark, Natural Born Cyborgs

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Andy Clark’s book Natural Born Cyborgs (henceforth, NBC) chronicles the rise of cognitive technologies. ‘Cognitive technologies’ is a phrase coined by Woods (1986) to describe an alternative to expert systems and traditional artificial intelligence. Cognitive technologies are designed to “develop joint human–machine cognitive systems” (Woods 1986, p. 86). While Clark does not use the phrase, I believe that it is the best label for his topic that I have yet encountered. The book consists of eight chapters covering, roughly, six distinct areas of emerging cognitive technologies, an introduction, and a brief meditation on the promise of a ‘post-human’ future. The six topics are, in order, a brief history of cognitive technology, advances in body enhancing/extending technologies, advances in mind enhancing/extending technologies, changes in the experience of space resulting from these advances, changes in the identification and limits of human individuality resulting from these advances, a