Content-type: text/html ~ Stephen's Web ~ Smartphones: Parts of Our Minds? Or Parasites?

Stephen Downes

Knowledge, Learning, Community

The George Siemens version of connectivism (but not my own) could be considered a variant of the Extended Mind Thesis (EMT) "that rather than being bound in the brain or neural system 'cognition leaks out into body and world'", as described, say, by Andy Clark. An alternative suggestion, suggested by the title, is that smartphones function more like cognitive parasites "designed to capture our attention for their own ends... a means for big tech companies (and others) to exploit and manipulate us." In this paper Brown and Brooks suggest a third alternative: that smartphones are "symbiotic partners" where "the activity of a modern smartphone reflects, at least in part, the goals and desires of the companies that produced it and the software companies that supplied the apps" that can produce benefits as well as harms.

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Stephen Downes Stephen Downes, Casselman, Canada

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Last Updated: May 22, 2024 5:53 p.m.

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