Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Brilliant Wired piece on Steven Hawking

Helene Mialet writes about Steven Hawking in Wired.  It was his birthday yesterday.  She writes:
Today, January 8, is Hawking’s birthday, yet on this day it’s worth examining just who and what we are really celebrating: the man, the mind or … the machines?
To understand Hawking, you [have] to understand the people and the machines without whom he would be unable to act and think; you [have] to understand the ways in which these entities augment and amplify Hawking’s competencies. For example: The specialties of his students, which are spread across very different research fields, enable him to integrate diverse information and the different facets of a problem in a way that others cannot. His secretary provides him with a mental assistant many of us would never have, by sorting and arranging his data according to his interests and what he is able to process.