Artificial Diane Arbus

Posted in culture, technology by johnsnavely on December 1, 2010

This article (via:kottke) about two conjoined twins, who share a portion of their brain was fascinating.

Adding to the conundrum, of course, are their linked brains, and the mysterious hints of what passes between them. The family regularly sees evidence of it. The way their heads are joined, they have markedly different fields of view. One child will look at a toy or a cup. The other can reach across and grab it, even though her own eyes couldn’t possibly see its location. “They share thoughts, too,” says Louise. “Nobody will be saying anything,” adds Simms, “and Tati will just pipe up and say, ‘Stop that!’ And she’ll smack her sister.” While their verbal development is delayed, it continues to get better. Their sentences are two or three words at most so far, and their enunciation is at first difficult to understand. Both the family, and researchers, anxiously await the children’s explanation for what they are experiencing.

Beyond the extraordinary physiological and psychological implications, the article made me wonder if their experience is what it might be like to share our consciousness with an AI of some sort… You would “know” things, without knowing how you knew them.


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  1. Bo said, on March 30, 2011 at 9:45 pm

    Makes me think of Thomas Nagel’s article, “Brain Bisection and the Unity of Conciousness” in which he explains that a bisected brain (in which the corpus callosum has been severed) becomes two consciousnesses. The two hemispheres of the brain, losing their ability to communicate, must act independently and therefore (he argues) cease to be one single entity. I’ll be interested in following these young girls’ development.

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