Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
World Wide Mind: The Coming Integration of Humanity, Machines, and the Internet Hardcover – February 15, 2011
"Children of Blood and Bone"
Tomi Adeyemi conjures a stunning world of dark magic and danger in her West African-inspired fantasy debut. Pre-order today
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
Customers who bought this item also bought
What other items do customers buy after viewing this item?
From Publishers Weekly
Brain implants that jack us into the cybernetic hive mind are on the horizon, according to this pixilated primer on the science of mental connection. Journalist Chorost (Rebuilt: How Becoming Part Computer Made Me More Human) sees the future clearly: first, viruses will be used to insert new DNA into neurons; then nanowires and LEDs will be surgically implanted in the brain; finally, wireless Internet links will beam our thoughts and impressions into the brains of others (as long as they've been outfitted with the same apparatus). Though it sounds awful--how long before an implanted live feed from your boss's brain becomes a condition of employment?--the author insists it will be awesome, sparking a "re-enchantment of humanity" in which we will be "listened to with compassionate intensity" and become "a larger, fuller species" with a "transpersonal mind" and a "Communion of Souls." Chorost is really into connectedness (he participated in a clothing-optional group hug-in at an intimacy workshop) and though his visionary raptures ring both implausible and unpleasant, his tour of here-and-now neuroscience makes for an engaging account of how the brain communicates with itself and the world. Photos. (Feb.)
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Chorost’s Rebuilt (2005) was an inspiring memoir about recovering his hearing with a cochlear implant. The personal also infuses this work that wrestles with neuroscience’s accelerating momentum in mapping and manipulating brain activity. Optimistic about the prospect, Chorost explains that researchers are creating a new field called optogenetics, in which individual neurons are genetically engineered to respond to light of specific wavelengths. Lab rats’ brains have already been made to dance to the scientists’ tune; humanity’s eventual turn may fret some readers. Weighing detrimental and beneficial aspects, Chorost tilts positively, in general, seeing physiological palliatives in brain-control technology, such as cures for paralysis and Parkinson’s disease as well as a futuristic, elevated experience of consciousness among people with an Internet-connected mind-reading capability. His imagination of such a social world compares with his real-world account of his emotional states while attempting to attract the opposite sex. Conceptual in tenor, Chorost’s accessible presentation parallels Miguel Nicolelis’ technically more detailed Beyond Boundaries in offering viewpoints favorable to this direction in neuroscience. --Gilbert Taylor
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
Chorost himself is a cyborg of sorts: he has a cochlear implant, a computer embedded in his skull, that restores his hearing. When the implant was put in, he had to learn all over how to hear, to interpret the electrical signals of the sensors as sound and speech. A part of his mind is now shaped by and integrated with computation in a way that most of us are not (yet) familiar with.
Starting from this personal example, Chorost then delves into current research on the workings of the mind and our technologies for observing and influencing the cellular machinery in our brains. He then works through the implications of such technologies when carried to their logical ends, and imagines a future in which our brains are individual nodes in a world wide network of minds connected, mediated, and intimately embraced by computers.
At the same time, Chorost also tells a parallel story about his own journey to find intimacy, to connect with others, and to learn to know another person the old fashioned way -- by speech, gesture, physical contact, and intuition.
The two stories turn out to be flip sides of the same coin. The human yearning to know another, to become part of something larger and more complete than the lonely self, is ancient and deep. The technologies Chorost describes may be new, but they will be used to fulfill a desire as old as our species.
Chorost's enthusiasm for his subject is infectious. The sense of wonder and joy fairly leap off the page. The reader can share his excitement as he first sees a computer respond to his thoughts: the mind is not some ethereal thing, but a concrete physical phenomenon. The sections about his personal life are intimate and honest, and give the book a deep humane center.
The future that Chorost imagines poses many challenges to our ideas about privacy, individuality, selfhood, and autonomy. And he may be wrong. The future that he writes of may never come to pass. But one comes away from this book thankful for having seen a great vision.
This is a wonderful book: informative, eloquent, interesting, and moving. Highly recommended.
After connecting to a BBS, a computer network, for the first time nearly twenty years ago, a disconnected computer, no matter how powerful, felt so lonely. How would it feel to connect my brain to the internet? To be able to constantly feel what my friends are up to, what the world is up to? Will I ever want to disconnect, and how lonely would that feel? Will it replace face-to-face communication or wanting to touch each other?
Michael Chorost's book touches these issues and much more, and points the spotlight on some of the technologies that may enable interfacing with the brain "hardware", especially optogenetics. On the "software" side, since each brain represents symbols and ideas in a unique way, the book suggests how personally trained brain interfaces will enable brain-to-brain communication.
What was most interesting and valuable in this book (to me) was the illumination of brain function and how an interface might be created for neural structures. It was fascinating to learn about "downward channels" of information flow that shape our perception more than actual sensory input. Also, genetic viruses being used to alter brain cells is cool though simultaneously chilling.
After this book, you may wish to read Beyond Boundaries: The New Neuroscience of Connecting Brains with Machines---and How It Will Change Our Lives.