Distributed Cognition

All media can be understood as augmenting humanity's basic cognitive structure, both in the concrete sense of literally re-wiring one's brain and in the more figurative sense of displacing certain tasks to other forms of media. The internet combined with search platforms could be considered the collective cognition of the human species, or the "noosphere"[1]. The invention of writing allowed individuals to free their memory and direct the brain to other tasks. Computers allow humans to take this process to an entirely new level by allowing one to store information in a medium that can be accessed anywhere. Wikipedia is an example of distributed cognitive network, as nodes of content and edits can be added from anywhere around the world. Collectively, Wikipedia represents the cognitive makeup of many different kinds of people from different cultures, backgrounds and ideologies. [2]


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  1. Krippendorff, Klaus. Noosphere. Web Dictionary of Cybernetics and Systems. Principia Cybernetica Web. Publish date unknown. Accessed April 2011. http://pespmc1.vub.ac.be/ASC/NOOSPHERE.html
  2. http://www.cyborganthropology.com/wiki/index.php?title=Distributed_Cognition