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The Ecological Approach to Mobile Communication

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  1. VT

  2. The Ecological Approach to Mobile Communication • Barry Smith • Institute for Formal Ontology and Medical Information Science • University of Leipzig •

  3. Frank Zappa • everything in the world is resonating to the One Big Note • Murray Schaefer Tuning of the World • Tony Schwarz Resonance theory of communication • L (advertising follower of MacLuhan)

  4. Formal Ontology Institute for Formal Ontology and Medical Information Science

  5. Roman Ingarden • Material Ontology • Realism • Theory of Causality • Theory of Relatively Isolated Systems • Modularity

  6. Adolf Reinach Ontology of Social Reality

  7. Maurice Merleau-Ponty & J. J. Gibson • Ontology of Cognitive Prosthetics

  8. Part One: Ontology of Cognitive Prosthetics • Part Two: Situated Computing and the Intentionality of E. Coli • Part Three: How is Unified Cognition Possible?

  9. Technologies of Mobile Communication • Global Positioning Systems (GPS)

  10. Technologies of Mobile Communication • Digital cameras

  11. Technologies of Mobile Communication • Digital video cameras

  12. Technologies of Mobile Communication • chemical • biological • … wearable computers • … brain-wave sensors to catch cheaters Microsensors

  13. PalmPilot context aware • Display the wiring/plumbing behind this wall • Display seismographic features of a terrain a geologist is viewing • Display vital signs of a patient a doctor is examining

  14. European Media Lab, Heidelberg • Tourism information services • Intelligent, speaking camera plus map display • Display all non-smoking restaurants within walking distance of the castle • Read out a history of the building my camera is pointing to

  15. Intelligent mobile phones • Inform a person walking past a bar of his buddies in the bar

  16. How to Understand Mobile Information Systems?

  17. derived intentionality Traditional Syntactic/Semantic Approach to Information Systems 011011101010001000100010010010010010010001001111001001011011110110111011

  18. Husserl’s Methodological Solipsism noesisnoesisnoesisnoesisnoesisnoesisnoesisnoesis noema noema noema noema noema noema noema noema

  19. Fodor’s Methodological Solipsism 011011101010001000100010010010010010010001001111001001011011110110111011

  20. Knowledge = • what can be transmitted down a wire • (effectively reducible to patterns of 1s and 0s)

  21. Humans, Machines, and the Structure of Knowledge • Harry M. Collins • SEHR, 4: 2 (1995)

  22. Knowledge-down-a-wire • Imagine a 5-stone weakling who has his brain loaded with the knowledge of a champion tennis player. • He goes to serve in his first match • -- Wham! – • his arm falls off. • He just doesn't have the bone structure or muscular development to serve that hard.

  23. Types of knowledge/ability/skill • those that can be transferred simply by passing signals from one brain/computer to another. • those that can’t:

  24. Sometimes it is the body which knows (the hardware)

  25. I know where the book is • = I know how to find it • I know what the square root of 2489 is • = I know how to calculate it

  26. Not all calculations are done inside the head • Not all thinking is done inside the head

  27. A. Clark, Being There • we rely on • external scaffolding = maps, models, tools, language, culture • we act so as to simplify cognitive tasks by "leaning on" the structures in our environment.

  28. Merlin Donald • Origins of the modern mind: Three stages in the evolution of culture andcognitionCambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1991

  29. Merlin Donald • radical transition in the emergence of modern human culture when humans began to construct elaborate symbolic systems ranging from cuneiforms, hieroglyphics, and ideograms to alphabetic languages and mathematics

  30. Merlin Donald • from this point human biological memory becomes an inadequate vehicle for storing and processing our collective knowledge. • from this point the modern mind is a hybrid structure built from vestiges of earlier biological stages together with new • external symbolic memory devices

  31. Types of knowledge/ability/skill • those that can be transferred simply by passing signals from one brain/computer to another. • those that can’t: • -- here the "hardware" is important; • abilities/skills contained • (a) in the body • (b) in the natural world • (c) in the marked-up world

  32. From • The Methodological Solipsist Approach to Information Processing (Fodor, Husserl) • To • The Ecological Approach to Information Processing (Gibson, Merleau-Ponty)

  33. Ecology • The digital streams connecting one mobile phone to another are not so important • What is important is the environment in which both are embedded

  34. Deliberative intellectual reasoning is not so important • Hayek: General concepts are tools for being lazy

  35. Fodorian Psychology • To understand human cognition we should study the mind/brain in abstraction from its real-world environment • (as if it were a hermetically sealed Cartesian ego)

  36. Gibsonian Ecological Psychology • To understand human cognition we should study the moving, acting human person as it exists in its real-world environment • and taking account how it has evolved into this real-world environment • We are like tuning forks – tuned to the environment which surrounds us

  37. Fodorian View of Information Systems • To understand information systems we should study their manipulation of syntactic strings

  38. Gibsonian Ecological View of Information Systems • To understand information systems we should study the hardware as it exists embedded in its real-world environment • and taking account the environment for which it was designed and built • Information systems are like tuning forks – they resonate in tune to their surrounding environments

  39. Merleau-Ponty • what we see, what we experience, what the world in which we find ourselves is like • depend upon our purposes of the moment

  40. The Basic Layer of Experience • When seeing an event, reading a page • we find, as a basic layer of experience, a whole already pregnant with an irreducible meaning: not sensations with gaps between them, into which memories may be supposed to slip, but the features, the layout of a landscape or a word, in spontaneous accord with the intentions of the moment ‘ • (Phenomenology of Perception, 21f.)

  41. Special Role of the Body • If my arm is resting on the table I should never think of saying that it is beside the ash-tray in the way in which the ash-tray is beside the telephone. The outline of my body is a frontier which ordinary spatial relations do not cross. This is because its parts are inter-related in a peculiar way: they are not spread out side by side, but enveloped in each other. (PoP, p. 98)

  42. Affordances • The bench, scissors, pieces of leather offer themselves to the subject as poles of action … they delimit a certain situation … which calls for a certain mode of resolution, a certain kind of work. The body is no more than an element in the system of the subject and his world, and the task to be performed elicits the necessary movements from him by a sort of remote attraction (PoP, p. 106)

  43. Gibson: Environment as Array of Affordances • “The affordances of the environment are what it offers the animal, what it provides or furnishes, either for good or evil.” • James J. Gibson, The Ecological Approach to Visual Perception

  44. Gibson: We are tuned to our environment • the phenomenal forces at work in my visual field elicit from me, without any calculation on my part, the motor reactions which establish the most effective balance between them, • the conventions of our social group, or our set of listeners, immediately elicit from us the words, attitudes and tone which are fitting. (PoP, p. 106)

  45. The Ecological Approach to Human Communication • When I motion my friend to come nearer, my intention is not a thought prepared within me and I do not perceive the signal in my body. I beckon across the world, I beckon over there, where my friend is; the distance between us, his consent or refusal are immediately read in my gesture; there is not a perception followed by a movement, for both form a system which varies with the whole. (PoP, p. 111)

  46. Embrangled Styles • When I chat with a friend whom I know well, each of his remarks and each of mine contains, in addition to the meaning it carries for everybody else, a host of references to the main dimensions of his character and mine, without our needing to recall previous conversations with each other. These acquired worlds … (PoP, p. 130)

  47. Geometry in the Legs • the word ‘sediment’ should not lead us astray: … acquired knowledge is not an inert mass in the depths of our consciousness. My flat is, for me, not a set of closely associated images. It remains a familiar domain round about me only as long as I still have ‘in my hands’ or ‘in my legs’ the main distances and directions involved, and as long as from my body intentional threads run out towards it. (PoP, p. 130)

  48. the unity of the body is not simple coordination • I desire a certain result and the relevant tasks are spontaneously distributed amongst the appropriate segments ..I can continue leaning back in my chair provided that I stretch my arm forward …. All these movements are available to us in virtue of their common meaning. (PoP, 149)

  49. Language • The speaking subject does not think of the sense of what he is saying, nor does he visualize the words which he is using. To know a word or a language is … not to be able to bring into play any pre-established nervous network. But neither is it to retain some ‘pure recollection’ of the word … (PoP, p. 180)