Dr Karina Vold has been announced as one of five winners of the American Philosophical Association’s 2019 Public Philosophy Op-Ed Contest, for her article “Are ‘you’ just inside your skin or is your smartphone part of you?”
Dr Vold is a postdoctoral affiliate at Newnham, and a postdoctoral research associate at the Leverhulme Centre for the Future of Intelligence. The annual content seeks out the best opinion-editorials published by philosophers, in which philosophical argument is accessible, soundly reasoned, focused on important topics of public concern.
The article discusses the status of smartphones and other devices: do we use them in such a way as to suggest they are part of our extended brain? If so, what implications should this have for the law?
In her piece, she argues
“your smartphone is much more than just a phone. It can tell a more intimate story about you than your best friend. No other piece of hardware in history, not even your brain, contains the quality or quantity of information held on your phone: it ‘knows’ whom you speak to, when you speak to them, what you said, where you have been, your purchases, photos, biometric data, even your notes to yourself – and all this dating back years. … Objects such as smartphones or notepads are often just as functionally essential to our cognition as the synapses firing in our heads. They augment and extend our minds by increasing our cognitive power and freeing up internal resources.”