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Smart people

Making a person ``smart'', if it is done right, should be fundamentally different than having a person interact with something external that is ``smart''.

Manfred Clynes refers to the cyborgian[4] mode of interaction that happens when a human and other external process interact in a manner that does not require conscious thought or effort. A person riding a bicycle is one of his favorite examples --- after time the rider operates the machine (bicycle) without conscious thought or effort, and, in some sense, the machine becomes an extension of the wearer's own body.

However, if you've ever rode a bike to a gambling establishment, or even a grocery store, you will most likely have been asked to leave it outside (that is, if you hadn't adopted the expected behaviour of leaving it outside without being asked). At this point, it ceases to behave as an extension of your own body.

The kind of synergy that arises from constant connectivity is, of course, much stronger, because interaction is sustained over a greater time period. The bicycle seldom really functions as an extension of the body for very long, in a complete sense, because we continually need to remove ourselves from it. The awkward nature of the bicycle makes it fall back into our conscious brain all--too frequently.

Steve Mann
Wed Feb 14 23:28:15 EST 1996