Robert K. Logan, author of The Extended Mind: The Emergence of Language, the Human Mind, and Culture, provides his thoughts on human intelligence and communication. Logan is Professor Emeritus of Physics at the University of Toronto, and Chief Scientist at the Strategic Innovation Lab at the Ontario College of Art and Design.
Logan earned his BS and Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). After completing two successful post-doctoral appointments as a Research Associate at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and the University of Toronto, Logan became a physics professor in the late 1960s until his retirement nearly fifteen years ago.
Logan discusses his background in theoretical physics and elementary particles, and the research and educational opportunities of which he pioneered and promulgated. He discusses an idea he developed called the sixth language, which was the basis for his book, The Sixth Language: Learning a Living in the Internet Age. Logan explains that the six languages are speech, writing, math, science, computing, and the internet. Logan discusses, in great detail, how they developed, providing valuable and interesting information on how each of the six emerged, and their individual impact on our society and culture.
Logan muses about what might be the seventh language, and he states that maybe we’ve already experienced its birth, for perhaps the seventh is ‘social media,’ perhaps ‘artificial intelligence,’ or even our smartphones, as smartphones completely change the way we interact with each other.
Logan states that what makes for human intelligence is not simply the possession of information, but having a desire to ‘know’ and to ‘understand.’ Computers, he states, have no desires, and are not motivated, but human intelligence at its core is about the desire to understand things. Logan talks about technology and how human life could be impacted.