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Embodied, disembodied and re-embodied cognition:
the potentials and obstacles for elegant human-computer interfaces

Affiliations: Université de Paris 1, Panthéon-Sorbonne and CREA, École Polytechnique

Postal address for correspondence: Rachel Zahn, 6 rue Greffulhe, 75008 Paris, France

Email: Rachel.Zahn@gmail.com

Abstract

It is clear that the ingenuity of brain interface technology will create significant changes in human lifestyles of the 21st century. Applications such as haptics, virtual reality, mind-reading computers, and perceptive pixel screens are pure genius. One can easily foresee the impact these developments might have on future generations.

Concurrently, a close intellectual neighbour, Enactive Cognitive Science, has been studying the dynamics of change in living systems. The enactive view of consciousness was introduced by the late Francisco Varela at CREA/LENA laboratories (Paris), one author of The Embodied Mind: Cognitive Science and Human Experience [1].

This paper will briefly explain Varela's neuro-phenomenological model for laboratory experiments, which could easily find a place within brain interface technology. We will also propose an unusual adaptation of this model: by working with specialists with exceptional psychophysical expertise in high proprioceptive performance, engineers can come closer to the truly elegant human-computer interfaces they seek.

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