commentary To celebrate Stephen Hawking’s 71st birthday, a fellow scientist suggests that perhaps it is the machines rather than the man who should be celebrated. She compares him to Darth Vader.
The generally accepted form of wish someone a happy birthday is to sing to the lucky person. Or maybe purchase or gift.
A less accepted is to compare the birthday person of Darth Vader and suggest he or she is just a “brain in a vat.”
Yet, Helene Mialet, an anthropologist at the University of Berkeley science, he chose the road a bit ‘less traveled.
Writing in Wired, offered that maybe Hawking should be listed as Obi-Wan refers to Darth Vader: “more machine than man.”
He went on to suggest that the mind of the eminent physicist has done pretty good only with large amounts of external assistance:He is delegated to other organs technicians, students, assistants, and of course, cars. Hawking “genius” far from being the product of his mind alone, is actually deeply located, material, and the collective nature.Some might think that this was mere invective, strategically placed to help the career of Helene Mialet.
However, she insists that followed him closely and spoke to all those who assist him in his daily life.It is not that he is like a superstar, with an entourage of feeding her every whim. He explained:
Hawking is not only the execution of remote commands and the wishes expressed, his entire body and even his whole identity are now owned by a collective man-machine network. He is what I call a distributed-centered subject: a brain in a vat, experiencing the world outside of the tank.
Somehow, she believes that the members of the following Hawking “complete his thoughts through their work.”
Millet Perhaps not enough time has passed by many Hollywood stars, whose thoughts would never be complete – it could even begin – without those who manage their lives.
The Daily Mail naturally occurring representatives of the Motor Neurone Disease Association to call his comments “dehumanizing.”
However, he concluded by proposing that we are all, in a sense, disabled. Without Google, without books, without people, we are simply entities thinking out loud and hoping we will be heard, understood, and even improved.
Yet, anyone who has followed the colorful life of personal Hawking – or even, as in a recent announcement of car insurance – might conclude that it is very human.