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False Positives Adventures in Technology, SciFi and Culture from Toronto

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Found Words: ExoCortex

ExoCortex : From Greek "exō" for outside; and from Latin "cortex" for bark, the cortex is the outermost layer of the brain. My ExoCortex is my Brain outside my Brain. Hardware or Software. Clear? Early examples include 6,620 B.C.E. and 2,700 B.C.E., slide rulers, and HP and TI pocket calculators (see also social bookmarks (like Del.icio.us) links and ).

Spotted via 0xDECAFBAD: Suffered a Stroke in my Exocortex and though out Charles Stross's novel :

Manfred used to be a flock of pigeons literally, his exocortex dispersed among a passel of bird brains, pecking at brightly colored facts, shitting semidigested conclusions

Update based on comments: I like Ben Houston's definition :
exocortex (eks'o kor'teks) an organ that resides outside of the brain that aids in high level thinking.

and he should certainly get credit for it's modern re-coining. (and credit to Charlie for it's popularization). I also liked L.M Orchard's (Mr 0xDECAFBAD) turn of phrase.

further: Ben has created a wikipedia entry on , with Whuffie. back to here and L.M.Ochard usage.

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  • The word has actually been coined a few times. I coined what the word and used it as the domain name of my personal website, www.exocortex.org, back in October/November 1998 - almost 7 years ago now. If you go back to here using the Internet Archive you can find the definition I was giving to the term:

    exocortex (eks'o kor'teks) n. [latin] an organ that resides outside of the brain that aids in high level thinking.

    Almost all of the the 4,650 hits for Exocortex in Google are references stuff related to collaborations or projects I've been involved with.

    By Ben Houston, at 8:38 PM  

  • For what it's worth, Accelerando was my source for the word.

    By l.m.orchard, at 11:27 AM  

  • I.m.orchard said: For what it's worth, Accelerando was my source for the word.

    I figured as much since I removed the definition for the term "exocortex" from my website back in 2002 or so. I think the only remaining definition of mine in the non-archived web is this Everything2.com exocortex entry from May 2000.

    By Ben Houston, at 1:05 AM  

  • Privately, Ian Irving suggested that I add back to my website the previously removed definition of exocortex. I think if the term is to gain adoption it is necessary to provide a quality definition that is widely accessible.

    The logial choice, if they don't decide to delete it, is add it to wikipedia. To that ends I've written uo a short proto-article that attempts to sound as scientific and professional as possible. You can find it here: exocortex .

    Please expand or improve it if you can. It was my first wikipedia article.

    Personally, I think the article is too focused on neural implants and that the term is already useful in the way that I.m.orchard used it the other day.

    By Ben Houston, at 1:27 AM  

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