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Linked Brains - Cyberbrain from Ghost in the Shell

Published onSep 23, 2019
Linked Brains - Cyberbrain from Ghost in the Shell

Ghost in the Shell’s Cyberbrain and External Memory

Screenshot: Opening Sequence Ghost in the Shell 1995

The universe of Ghost in the Shell (especially the extension by the subsequent movie “Innocence“ and the two seasons of Stand Alone Complex) makes heavy use of the concept of a computerised brain which can be constantly linked to an wireless network of information and communication but also allows for storage of external memory outside of the physical brain.

The franchise is dealing with the question whether or not a human still is a unique body-mind-connected individual when their brain can be taken and transplanted into a different body on various levels. Expanding on the definition of what makes a human being themselves.

Sharing external memory, recalling details at any point and linking information with one another would be a great feature to play around with in your own mind. Although the philosophical and ethical implications of being able to manipulate information and therefore a person (GiTS “Ghost hacking“) might be a price too high to pay for this convenience.

Black Mirror’s “Grain”

Black mirrors “The Entire History of You“ (Series 1 Ep. 3) opens another set of questions on recording and even more on obsessing about details in recording and recalling memory.

Article: Science of the Cyberbrain in “Ghost in the Shell”

Jayson Lynch: If you like “The Entire History of You”, you should absolutely read Ted Chiang’s “The Truth of Fact, The Truth of Feeling” (looks like a copy is here, most of Ted Chiang’s work is available online). It also looks at the development of continual recording with an easy user interface and how that might qualitatively change human society. It juxtaposes it to a story about the impact of written language as a technology. For good writings on computerized brains or notions of exo/meta-self/mind, I’d also suggest Greg Egan’s “Diaspora” and Charles Stross’s “Accelerando”, excepts of which appear to be on the class reading list. Plenty of other media also look at these ideas and issues. Also probably worthwhile to read some of the philosophical work on extended-self and extended-mind, and computationalism.