The Third Brain

A short phenomenology of the smartphone

Ten years ago, Steve Jobs presented his latest baby – the revolutionary iPhone. It was a world first: a cell phone with Internet access, an iPod and a multi-touch screen. Since then, the SmartPhone has become an indispensable part of our lives. It is as necessary to us as the air we breathe. We are never without it; we only ever turn it off when forced to do so. Words such as pathological addiction, amnesia, hyper connection and mental confusion have been used to describe its hold. On the other hand, every one of us can measure the extent of SmartPhone services: it helps us to communicate, to stay informed, to translate, to listen, to read, to write, to see, to photograph, to find places, to pay and to play. It is not just an efficient go-between with reality, it has become, in fact, our perspective on the world. Its role as mediator is so great that it is now a part of us, like an organic artefact or extension. In essence, there is no border between the device and its user.
With Artificial Intelligence (AI) and 5G, the improved SmartPhone will give us super powers. It will also give us greater dangers: it has taught us to “unlearn” what we have learned, making us dependent; it sells our profiles to the highest bidder; it is capable of manipulating our voting intentions; it spies on our private life; it will hold us captive in a web of surveillance… This will be our world unless the SmartPhone becomes the instrument of a new collective consciousness that is capable of giving a chance to fraternity, to direct democracy and to the survival of the planet. Rich in information and testimonials, The Third Brain lays bare the dangers of our blind subjugation to a fetish object of computer culture.

  • Pierre-Marc de Biasi

    Pierre-Marc de Biasi, director of research at the CNRS, is a specialist in Flaubert's work and in the genetics of texts. His research also covered topics such as the history of paper, the contemporary lexicon, the history of ideas, digital publishing and archives.

  • ISBN: 9782271121028
  • Pages: 268
  • Publication date: 13/09/2018
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