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Original Essays | September 15, 2014

Lois Leveen: IMG Forsooth Me Not: Shakespeare, Juliet, Her Nurse, and a Novel



There's this writer, William Shakespeare. Perhaps you've heard of him. He wrote this play, Romeo and Juliet. Maybe you've heard of it as well. It's... Continue »
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Rebuilt: How Becoming Part Computer Made Me More Human

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Rebuilt: How Becoming Part Computer Made Me More Human Cover

ISBN13: 9780618378296
ISBN10: 0618378294
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Michael Chorost became a cyborg on October 1, 2001, the day his new ear was booted up. Born hard of hearing in 1964, he went completely deaf in his thirties. Rather than live in silence, he chose to have a computer surgically embedded in his skull to artificially restore his hearing.

This is the story of Chorost's journey — from deafness to hearing, from human to cyborg — and how it transformed him. The melding of silicon and flesh has long been the stuff of science fiction. But as Chorost reveals in this witty, poignant, and illuminating memoir, fantasy is now giving way to reality.

Chorost found his new body mystifyingly mechanical: kitchen magnets stuck to his head, and he could plug himself directly into a CD player. His hearing was routinely upgraded with new software. All this forced him to confront complex questions about humans in the machine age: When the senses become programmable, can we trust what they tell us about the world? Will cochlear implants destroy the signing deaf community? And above all, are cyborgs still human?

A brilliant dispatch from the technological frontier, Rebuilt is also an ode to sound. Whether Chorost is adjusting his software in a desperate attempt to make the world sound "right" again, exploring the neurobiology of the ear, or reflecting on the simple pleasure of his mother's voice, he invites us to think about what we hear — and how we experience the world — in an altogether new way.

Brimming with insight and written with dry, self-deprecating humor, this quirky coming-of-age story unveils, in a way no other book has, the magnificent possibilities of a new technological era.

Review:

"Chorost had been severely hearing impaired since birth when, one morning in 2001, his remaining hearing suddenly and inexplicably shut down. Fortunately for Chorost, cochlear implants have progressed to the point where people formerly isolated from everyday sounds can hear leaves rustle as they walk through them. A tiny device, the technological equivalent of a 286 computer, was surgically implanted behind the author's left ear. A magnetic headpiece sticks to his head over the implant, with a wire connected to a speech processor on his belt. As Chorost makes clear, his hearing wasn't restored; it was replaced. His body is now part 'machine.' The implant was only the first step of the author's learning to hear again, as his brain struggled to interpret the new electrical signals it was receiving. Chorost, who conducts research in educational technology, faced problems with activities most people take for granted: talking on a cell phone or carrying on a conversation in a crowded room. He recounts with candor and humor his struggles with relationships, both casual and intimate. Readers will find much food for thought on the implications of medical technology and what constitutes our humanity in this beautifully written debut. Agent, Michael Carlisle at Inkwell. (June 2)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Review:

"An artfully frank account, Chorost's story will vitally engage people interested in the increasingly prevalent surgical procedure." Booklist

Review:

"Chorost's graceful, poetic turns of phrase and dry, self-deprecating humor take what could have been a dry technological story and breathe life into it..." Library Journal

Review:

"A real marvel is Michael Chorost...he brings to his fascinating subject great intellectual clarity...compelling." Jenny Davidson, The Village Voice

Review:

"Funny and thoughtful...[Chorost's] awareness of life's fragility...strikes me as the perfect answer to opponents of implants...invaluable." Alex Soojung-Kim Pang, The Los Angeles Times

Review:

"Deeply enjoyable...Chorost is at the vanguard of where most baby-boomers will end up — part human and part machine." Rodney Brooks, author of Flesh and Machines

Review:

"Chorost takes us on an amazing intellectual journey...[and he] has a fine ear for language...A lovely book." Robin Marantz Henig, author of Pandora's Baby and The Monk in the Garden

Review:

"Moving...The most hopeful thing I've read in quite a while." Annalee Newitz, San Francisco Bay Guardian

Review:

"Rebuilt is a heartfelt exploration of technologically mediated perception...Chorost's journey is that of humanity itself." Andy Clark, author of Natural-Born Cyborgs

Review:

"Rebuilt offers a fascinating look at what it means to be wired in a wired world." St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Review:

"With wit and candor, [Chorost] welcomes us to the debate and shows us what it's like to struggle to hear." The Arizona Republic

Synopsis:

Chorost chronicles his journey from deafness to hearing, from human to cyborg, and how it transformed him. Written with self-deprecating, dry wit this volume explores hearing, sound, and software that can now mend the senses.

Synopsis:

After Michael Chorost suddenly lost what was left of his hearing, he took the radical step of having a cochlear implant — a tiny computer — installed in his head. A technological marvel, the device not only restored to him the world of sound but also could be routinely upgraded with new software. Despite his intitial fear of the technology's potentially dehumanizing effects, Chorost's implant allowed him to connect with others in surprising ways: as a cyborg, he learned about love, joined a writing group, and formed deeper friendships. More profoundly, his perception of the world around him was dramatically altered.

Brimming with insight and written with charm and self-deprecating humor, Rebuilt unveils, in personal terms, the astounding possibilities of a new technological age.

About the Author

Michael Chorost has a B.A. from Brown University and a Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin. He lives in San Francisco, where he writes, teaches, and consults.

Table of Contents

1 : Broken 1 2 : Surgery 23 3 : Between Two Worlds 39 4 : Activation 49 5 : Forget About Reality 67 6 : The Computer Reprograms Me 80 7 : Upgrading 102 8 : The Logic I Loved and Hated 117 9 : A Kinship with the Machines 145 10 : A Kinship with the Humans 158 11 : The Technologies of Human Potential 171 12 : Mike 2.0 184 Appendix: 1,113,636 Bits per Second 199 Notes 209 Bibliography 217 Acknowledgments 222 Index 225

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 2 comments:

Shoshana, April 18, 2010 (view all comments by Shoshana)
Michael Chorost, already partially deaf, suddenly went completely deaf. More than just a memoir of this experience of deafness and acquiring a cochlear implant, Rebuilt's narrative is intertwined with Chorost's thoughts and speculations about becoming a cyborg (that is, a human with "software that makes if-then-else decisions and acts on the body to carry them out" (p. 40). This is a good book to read with Donna Haraway's "A Cyborg Manifesto," which Chorost references extensively, and Myron Uhlberg's Hands of My Father: A Hearing Boy, His Deaf Parents, and the Language of Love.

Chorost's musings can sometimes be tiring. Put the book down and return to it later--it's worth following him through the whole thought, but sometimes his style can be wearing as he delves into semiotics and representation.

Note to Houghton Mifflin: What's wrong with this statement? "...I would find an oak seed in the yard, break its green whirlybird wings in half, and paste the sap-sticky center on my nose...." (p. 32). Clearly, copy editing is a lost art.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
sjm6, June 14, 2006 (view all comments by sjm6)
As a cochlear implantee ( I also have an Bionic Ear from Advanced Bionics) I highly recommend this book for any one with a cochlear implant, any candidate, or just anyone who is interested in how this amazing technology has had impact on those of us that either suddenly or over a period of time, became deaf. Michael combines a lot of technological information, along with the emotional journey we CI users go through. His description of becoming cyborg and what that means describes how technology today can have an effect on humans. M ichael is a brilant writer with an engaging style. At times this is not an 'easy read" because of the many references to technology, and his use of a sophisticated vocabulary.. but over all, it adds to the other books that describe the cochlear implant journey.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(1 of 3 readers found this comment helpful)
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780618378296
Subtitle:
My Journey Back to the Hearing World
Author:
Chorost, Michael
Publisher:
Mariner Books
Location:
Boston
Subject:
General science
Subject:
United states
Subject:
Philosophy & Social Aspects
Subject:
Handicapped
Subject:
Specific Groups - Special Needs
Subject:
Cybernetics
Subject:
Patients
Subject:
Biotechnology
Subject:
General Biography
Subject:
Cochlear implants - Patients - United States
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade Cloth
Publication Date:
June 2005
Binding:
Paperback
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
8 halftones running with text
Pages:
240
Dimensions:
8.80x6.30x.84 in. .89 lbs.

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Related Subjects

Biography » General
Computers and Internet » Computers Reference » Social Aspects » Human and Computer Interaction
Featured Titles » Biography
Health and Self-Help » Health and Medicine » Medical Biographies
Reference » Science Reference » General

Rebuilt: How Becoming Part Computer Made Me More Human Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$5.50 In Stock
Product details 240 pages Houghton Mifflin Company - English 9780618378296 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Chorost had been severely hearing impaired since birth when, one morning in 2001, his remaining hearing suddenly and inexplicably shut down. Fortunately for Chorost, cochlear implants have progressed to the point where people formerly isolated from everyday sounds can hear leaves rustle as they walk through them. A tiny device, the technological equivalent of a 286 computer, was surgically implanted behind the author's left ear. A magnetic headpiece sticks to his head over the implant, with a wire connected to a speech processor on his belt. As Chorost makes clear, his hearing wasn't restored; it was replaced. His body is now part 'machine.' The implant was only the first step of the author's learning to hear again, as his brain struggled to interpret the new electrical signals it was receiving. Chorost, who conducts research in educational technology, faced problems with activities most people take for granted: talking on a cell phone or carrying on a conversation in a crowded room. He recounts with candor and humor his struggles with relationships, both casual and intimate. Readers will find much food for thought on the implications of medical technology and what constitutes our humanity in this beautifully written debut. Agent, Michael Carlisle at Inkwell. (June 2)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review" by , "An artfully frank account, Chorost's story will vitally engage people interested in the increasingly prevalent surgical procedure."
"Review" by , "Chorost's graceful, poetic turns of phrase and dry, self-deprecating humor take what could have been a dry technological story and breathe life into it..."
"Review" by , "A real marvel is Michael Chorost...he brings to his fascinating subject great intellectual clarity...compelling."
"Review" by , "Funny and thoughtful...[Chorost's] awareness of life's fragility...strikes me as the perfect answer to opponents of implants...invaluable."
"Review" by , "Deeply enjoyable...Chorost is at the vanguard of where most baby-boomers will end up — part human and part machine."
"Review" by , "Chorost takes us on an amazing intellectual journey...[and he] has a fine ear for language...A lovely book."
"Review" by , "Moving...The most hopeful thing I've read in quite a while."
"Review" by , "Rebuilt is a heartfelt exploration of technologically mediated perception...Chorost's journey is that of humanity itself."
"Review" by , "Rebuilt offers a fascinating look at what it means to be wired in a wired world."
"Review" by , "With wit and candor, [Chorost] welcomes us to the debate and shows us what it's like to struggle to hear."
"Synopsis" by , Chorost chronicles his journey from deafness to hearing, from human to cyborg, and how it transformed him. Written with self-deprecating, dry wit this volume explores hearing, sound, and software that can now mend the senses.
"Synopsis" by ,
After Michael Chorost suddenly lost what was left of his hearing, he took the radical step of having a cochlear implant — a tiny computer — installed in his head. A technological marvel, the device not only restored to him the world of sound but also could be routinely upgraded with new software. Despite his intitial fear of the technology's potentially dehumanizing effects, Chorost's implant allowed him to connect with others in surprising ways: as a cyborg, he learned about love, joined a writing group, and formed deeper friendships. More profoundly, his perception of the world around him was dramatically altered.

Brimming with insight and written with charm and self-deprecating humor, Rebuilt unveils, in personal terms, the astounding possibilities of a new technological age.

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