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Showing 1-6 of 6 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 10 reviews
on March 22, 2011
In World Wide Mind, Chorost speculates on humanity's future as cyborgs.

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.
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on March 22, 2011
Michael Chorost has done it again. I'm a big fan of his prior book Rebuilt, which chronicles his experience with the world of cochlear implants. This book is just as fascinating and entertaining. I won't get into the subject matter of the book, which other commenters have discussed in detail. Suffice it to say that I found the scientific discussions immensely interesting and thought-provoking. But what I like best is the way the author interposes his own personal experiences with the discussion of emerging technology. I have rarely encountered an author with such an engaging writing style. Whereas I race through most books, I slow myself down when reading Chorost's prose, so as to savor every bit. The writing is funny, sweet, and moving, all at the same time. And it just gets better and better as it goes along. This is truly a tour de force. I would give it more than five stars if I could.
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on February 27, 2012
I expected a very interesting and thought provoking book. What I did not expect was a very personal and brave story about overcoming a physical impairment and social awkwardness, and about finding love.

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.
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on March 22, 2011
Michael Chorost speculates about the potential future integration of individuals, technologies and the internet. He lays the groundwork for his futuristic ideas with a fascinating review of cutting-edge technologies already available today and by weaving his personal 'human connection' story throughout the book. You may not agree with or even like Chorost's predictions, but one can't help but be challenged to think about where technology and the internet are leading us. A very stimulating read.
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on August 5, 2013
The idea that we can gradually replace most of our bodies with machines that do the job better than flesh can is worth thinking about since many of us may have an opportunity to live forever in continual happiness if we assist and follow the development of the ideas discussed in this book. Peter Kline
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on May 4, 2011
The exploration of the above science and the ethical/societal considerations of mind-machine interfaces were couched in Chorost's very human and personal experiences of living with technology and those affected by it. Overall, it was a good read and more than the book that I expected it to be.
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.
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