Wednesday, January 30, 2008
Primates and a few other animals are unique in their consistent use of tools, and how they are able do so has been a perplexing question. A really elegant study by Italian neuroscientists has come to a fascinating conclusion, which makes the dreams above seem more plausible than ever. They found that monkeys' brains essentially 'trick' themselves into treating a tool as part of their own body, as opposed to some intermediary between self and world. The implications of this for cybernetics is, I would think, that the brain is already primed to 'assimilate' new parts or functional groups into itself: we don't need to retrain the brain, or find new regions - we could just use the ones we use anyways without tools.