At what point does technology become a part of you? It seems reasonable to assume that a pacemaker might be considered as such but what about a prosthetic leg? If someone damages it would that be considered personal injury or property damage? Now how about your cell phone?

David Ackley from UNM offers the following principle called the carried network demarc:
The machines that you routinely carry under your own power, and their contents and interactions, should be considered part of your body as a matter of law and social norm.

His position is informed by his work on artificial life and research into computing in a post-Von Neumann computer architecture. I've recently discovered his work and devoured his entire youtube channel post history and recommend that you check him out.

Carried Network Demarc Paper
Video presentation

Expert Comment

by:Brian Matis
Fascinating topic. Saved for future viewing of that video for when I have a moment!

My quick take: yep, we should move in the direction of considering these machines as a part of ourselves. I'll confess that I have a personal bias that strongly influences my view: I'm a Type 1 Diabetic and am always connected to an insulin pump. The pump I have supports wireless connectivity for sending it commands. While there are a ton of safeguards in place to prevent someone from commandeering it and sending it bad instructions, it is still theoretically possible that someone could attempt to hack it to change the amount of insulin delivered - potentially resulting in coma or death. If someone were to attempt such a thing, you can be damn sure I'd consider it no different than if they tried to stab me.

And on a less macabre note: even devices like our smartphones are becoming an extension of our brains. The raw amount of information we're being expected to deal with and manage in modern culture goes well beyond our innate, biologically evolved memorization capabilities. More and more of what we need in order to function in such an information dense culture requires that we relegate much of our memory to electronic devices. For a fascinating read on the topic, I highly recommend checking out the book, The Organized Mind: Thinking Straight in the Age of Information Overload.
LVL 21

Expert Comment

by:Lucas Bishop
Where can I suggest the philosophy tag for this post

Keep in touch with Experts Exchange

Tech news and trends delivered to your inbox every month