This paper examines digital convergence, focusing on its technical and cultural dimension, and discusses what implications digital convergence could have for our understanding of the nature of human cognition. For the analysis of the technical dimension of digital convergence, three conceptual layers are distinguished: physical, code-logical, and content layers. The dynamics of digital convergence is explicated by highlighting the role which the inter-layer, i.e., digitalized code-logical layer, is playing in mediating content-layer and physical-layer. For the analysis of cultural dimension of digital convergence, we invoke the notion of “externalization of intelligence,” according to which the digital devices such as the iPhone should be viewed as being not so much mere passive tools as externalizations of human mind. Based on this thesis, we contend that the ultimate form of convergence obtains not between contents or hardware, but between the human and environment (or instrument). We predict this would cause a radical change in the way we understand the concept of agency and selfhood. For example, human agent will delegates much of her cognitive authority to a digital device that is an externalization of her mind, and the boundary of one’s self needs to be drawn differently from the traditional boundary based on one’s body.


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pp. 5-26
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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