The Over-Extended Mind? Pink Noise and the Ethics of Interaction-Dominant Systems

Darian Meacham*, Miguel Prado Casanova

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


There is a growing recognition within cognitive enhancement and neuroethics debates of the need for greater emphasis on cognitive artefacts. This paper aims to contribute to this broadening and expansion of the cognitive-enhancement and neuroethics debates by focusing on a particular form of relation or coupling between humans and cognitive artefacts: interaction-dominance. We argue that interaction-dominance as an emergent property of some human-cognitive artefact relations has important implications for understanding the attribution and distribution of causal and other forms of responsibility as well as agency relating to the actions of human-cognitive artefact couplings. Interaction-dominance is both indicated and constituted by the phenomenon of “pink noise”. Understanding the role of noise in this regard will establish a necessary theoretical groundwork for approaching the ethical and political dimensions of relations between human cognition and digital cognitive artefacts. We argue that pink noise in this context plays a salient role in the practical, ethical, and political evaluation of coupling relations between humans and cognitive artefacts, and subsequently in the responsible innovation of cognitive artefacts and human-artefact interfaces.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)269-281
Number of pages13
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2018

Structured keywords

  • BrisSynBio
  • Bristol BioDesign Institute


  • Cognitive artefacts
  • Distributed cognition
  • Enhancement
  • Extended mind thesis
  • Human enhancement technology
  • Interaction-dominant systems
  • Machine-human hybrid
  • Noise
  • Pink noise
  • Responsibility
  • Responsible research and innovation
  • Value-sensitive design
  • Synthetic biology

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