It is a challenge for human beings to understand their own symbolic systems, because we can never be external to our own cognition. Another challenge is the restrictions that language brings. This is because words crystallize meaning, and precondition our thoughts by providing conceptual frameworks. On the other hand, these two challenges that make it a challenge for us to understand our symbolic systems – being a human with a particular language structure – can as well constitute starting points to understand human symbolic systems.
In order to overcome the restrictions that language provide, the best that we can do is gain a “meta” understanding. Secondly, a historical approach can be employed to understand how human cognition functions. Looking back to the history, understanding the implications of Claude Shannon’s Master’s thesis was the “a-ha” moment for me. Using electricity as a means to deploy human cognition has enabled us to create cognitive structures (not cognizers) for our use.
Understanding these concepts, allowed me to think of the following questions that I would not have thought of otherwise: What are the assumptions we make as we are navigating in our daily life? How do the language that we are using restrict our conceptualizations? How do we delegate and expect agency from artefacts? What is the best way to characterize artefacts with deployed cognition? And finally, what are the consequences of not asking these questions?
Considering that the way humans digest content is the topic that academically inspire me, the concepts that I have learned throughout the courses further extended my inquiry to the following question: What is the cognitive basis of remediation? Are there any common patterns in remediation of media? Can we observe any patterns in the way that media forms are remediated?
With this perspective, I will propose the following text as a unit of analysis with the conceptual tools at hand: online identity. Approaching online identity as a form of remediation, Bolter and Grusin’s remediation theory can be employed to understand how identity is transferred. Secondly, analyzing an online social media platforms’ interface in regard to the way it simulates person-to-person interaction can be a usefull approach to deblackbox the cognitive processes that take place. Finally, deblackboxing the functionalities and symbols embedded in buttons in online platforms can be useful to understand hoe interacting with a computer can substitute person-to-person interaction.