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comment by OftenBen
OftenBen  ·  280 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Sci-Fi club, let's get some new faces in here

I have to throw A Darkling Sea into the mix.

This book takes a very interesting spin on something that I have put a great deal of thought into over the years. To what degree does the type of sensory input we are able to perceive determine the limits of our thought and imagination? What other methods of doing things would we be capable of with slightly different sensory apparatus? How does a completely blind race that lives underwater write things down? How do beings that communicate through olfactory signals keep secrets from each other? What effect do these evolutionary quirks mean for the development of a culture, a civilization?

veen  ·  279 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Jaron Lanier has done some cool experiments regarding remapping and expanding our motor sensory inputs/outputs. IIRC he also discusses them on the Ezra Klein podcast if you want something less academic. (It’s very readable though.)

OftenBen  ·  279 days ago  ·  link  ·  

That was a really fun read. I assumed any discussion down these lines with regard to the human neural map would bring up the homonculus idea pretty quickly.

As with most research, they used college students and graduate students for their subjects. I never realized what a limitation this was until after I graduated. The world is so much bigger and weirder.

I wonder if there would be any measurable difference if we used subgroups of people who have either a ton of experience in virtual bodies or almost none. Say, your average World of Warcraft player compared with say, people who report never having played an MMO or similar kind of game. I imagine that like most human traits homoncular flexibility varies from person to person, group to group.

What a fascinating and infuriating time to be alive.

veen  ·  277 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I'm pretty convinced our brains are more flexible and adaptable than most people think - it's just that our opportunities to use this flexibility are few and far between.