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The Homunculus Problem: Why You Will Lose the Battle of BYOD
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The Homunculus Problem: Why You Will Lose the Battle of BYOD


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BYOD, it's the new enterprise Boogie Man, striking fear into the heart of security professionals everywhere. We think this is a simple issue of policy, but if a recent study is correct and …

BYOD, it's the new enterprise Boogie Man, striking fear into the heart of security professionals everywhere. We think this is a simple issue of policy, but if a recent study is correct and 20-­somethings will risk their jobs to use their own devices, it's clear there's more going on. One explanation for the attachment to our smartphones and tablets can be found in neuroscience.
Studies show that texting, Twitter and Facebook usage activate the same addictive patterns in the brain as heroin and cigarettes. With advances in neuroengineering and brain computer interfaces, it sounds as if we're arguing with the inevitable, ultimate BYOD. Science continues to make advancements toward using technology to overcome the limitations of paralysis or to repair the damaged areas of the brain. Many of these devices will be wireless and in our enterprises. Parag Khanna and Ayesha Khanna in a recent TED book said we've entered a Hybrid Age, "...a new sociotechnical era that is unfolding as technologies merge with each other and humans merge with technology..." The BYOD cat is out of the bag, the barbarians are at the gates. Therefore, the answer to BYOD cannot be, “No,” but a qualified “Yes, and....”

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  • Fortinet, which sponsored the survey, says it decided to focus the BYOD-related questions specifically on college-educated employees between the ages of 20 and 29 because this younger segment -- the future of the workforce -- is digitally savvy, and their first phone may be a smartphone. The 3,872 young workers responding to the BYOD survey said they already regularly engage in the practice of using personally owned mobile devices at work. And apparently thumbing their noses at corporate policies
  • The concept of self is believed to be located in the brain’s pineal gland.The pineal gland (also called the pineal body, epiphysis cerebri, epiphysis, conarium or the "third eye") is a small endocrine gland in the vertebratebrain. It produces the serotonin derivative melatonin, a hormone that affects the modulation of wake/sleep patterns and seasonal functions.[1][2] Its shape resembles a tiny pine cone (hence its name), and it is located near the centre of the brain, between the two hemispheres, tucked in a groove where the two rounded thalamic bodies join.René Descartes, who dedicated much time to the study of the pineal gland, called it the "principal seat of the soul."[30] He believed that it was the point of connection between the intellect and the body.[31] Descartes attached significance to the gland because he believed it to be the only section of the brain which existed as a single part, rather than one half of a pair. He argued that because a person can never have "more than one thought at a time," external stimuli must be united within the brain before being considered by the soul, and he considered the pineal gland to be situated in "the most suitable possible place for this purpose," located centrally in the brain and surrounded by branches of the carotid arteries.[30]
  • sense that we are individuals inside bodies is sometimes called the “ego theory” also the “pearl view” of the self.David Hume, “bundle theory” (sensations, perceptions, and thoughts piled on top of each other. Similar to Aggregates of Clinging in Buddhism.The “skilled operator of a complex meat machine.” Bruce HoodDan Dennett conied the illusion of the Cartesian theater.
  • Clark foresees the development ofcognitive prosthetics, or electronic brain enhancements (EBEs), as only the next logical step in the human mind’s natural integration with technology.”“The mind, on this account, is not bounded by the biological organism but extends into the environment of that organism. Consider two subjects carry out a mathematical task. The first completes the task solely in her head, while the second completes the task with the assistance of paper and pencil. By Clark’s ‘parity principle’, as long as the cognitive results are the same there is no reason to count the means employed by the two subjects as different. The process of cognition in the second case involves paper and pencil, and the conception of ‘mind’ appropriate to this subject must include these environmental items....Nonetheless, he proposes that the boundary of ‘skin and skull’ is arbitrary and cognitively meaningless. If the paper and pencil used by the second subject becomes a virtual ‘paper and pencil’ visible on a monitor and controlled by a silicon chip implanted in the head, the differences between subjects become less clear and Clark’s hypothesis becomes more plausible.Clark foresees the development ofcognitive prosthetics, or electronic brain enhancements (EBEs), as only the next logical step in the human mind’s natural integration with technology.”Isn’t that what we’re already seeing with iPads and smartphones? If these are “extended mind” isn’t that why users are so insistent on bringing in their own devices? Their iPads, smart phones and laptops are actually part of their identity. When a corporation tries to reject this, when it doesn’t appreciate how heavily identified the users are with their devices, it fails to understand the source of resistance. If, according to Andy Clark, we are Natural Born Cyborgs, then how does an enterprise define BYOD? What’s the essential difference between a user bringing their iPad to work Vs. a pen or a copy of the WSJ or even his biological skin sack?It’s an active externalism.
  • A phantom limb is the sensation that an amputated or missing limb (even an organ, like the appendix) is still attached to the body and is moving appropriately with other body parts.[1][2][3] Approximately 60 to 80% of individuals with an amputation experience phantom sensations in their amputated limb, and the majority of the sensations are painful.[4] Phantom sensations may also occur after the removal of body parts other than the limbs, e.g. after amputation of the breast, extraction of a tooth (phantom tooth pain) or removal of an eye (phantom eye syndrome). The missing limb often feels shorter and may feel as if it is in a distorted and painful position. Occasionally, the pain can be made worse by stress, anxiety, and weather changes. Phantom limb pain is usually intermittent. The frequency and intensity of attacks usually declines with time.[5]Although not all phantom limbs are painful, patients will sometimes feel as if they are gesturing, feel itches, twitch, or even try to pick things up. For example, Ramachandran and Blakeslee describe that some people's representations of their limbs do not actually match what they should be, for example, one patient reported that her phantom arm was about "6 inches too short".[6]A slightly different sensation known as phantom pain can also occur in people who are born without limbs and people who are paralyzed.[7] Phantom pains occur when nerves that would normally innervate the missing limb cause pain. It is often described as a burning or similarly strange sensation and can be extremely agonizing for some people, but the exact sensation differs widely for individuals. Other induced sensations include warmth, cold, itching, squeezing, tightness, and tingling.[3] limbs occur when an amputee feels the often painful sensation of touch arising from a limb that is no longer present. Working with combat veterans, Vilayanur Ramachandran, of the Center for Brain and Cognition at the University of California, San Diego, has now discovered a potential cure.His treatment makes use of the newly discovered properties of mirror neurons. Mirror neurons fire when a person performs an intentional action - such as waving - and also when they observe someone else performing the same action. They are thought to help us predict the intentions of others by creating a "virtual reality" simulation of the action in our minds."You also find cells like this for touch," says Ramachandran. "They fire when you touch yourself and when you watch someone else being touched in the same location.”This begs the question: if the same touch neurons fire when you rub your hand as when you watch somebody else rubbing their hand, why is it that we don't constantly go around "feeling" what we are watching?Ramachandran proposed that messages from sensory cells in the hand would partially inhibit the output of mirror neurons, preventing the message from going to higher centres of the brain."They're telling the brain: 'I feel your touch in some abstract way but not in a literal sense'," he says. "This mechanism allows you to simultaneously empathize and recognize that someone else is being touched but not think you are being touched yourself. "To test this theory, Ramachandran and his colleague and wife Diane Rogers-Ramachandran used a "mirror box" - a tool that creates the visual illusion of two hands for people who actually only have one. By placing an amputee's arms either side of a mirror - with the missing limb on the non-reflective side, the amputee sees the reflection of their normal hand superimposed on the location of their missing hand.Mirror magicTwo amputees watched their normal hand being prodded, and both felt the remarkable sensation of "being prodded" in their missing hand. In another experiment, when the amputees watched a volunteer's hand being stroked, they too began to experience a stroking sensation arising from their missing limb.The amputees "felt" the actions of others because their missing limb provided no feedback to partially inhibit their mirror neurons, no longer telling them that they were not "literally" being touched, says Ramachandran.One subject also reported that watching a volunteer rubbing her hand caused the cramping sensation within the phantom limb to cease for 10 to 15 minutes. "If you do it often enough perhaps this pain will go away for good," suggests Ramachandran."If an amputee experiences pain in their missing limb, they could watch a friend or partner rub their hand to get rid of it.”Builds on the work of Giacomo Rizzolatti who discovered mirror neurons in the 1990’s when studying brains of monkeysYou can also call them empathy neurons.
  • juice that fuels the seeking system is the neurotransmitter dopamine. The dopamine circuits "promote states of eagerness and directed purpose," Panksepp writes. It's a state humans love to be in. So good does it feel that we seek out activities, or substances, that keep this system aroused—cocaine and amphetamines, drugs of stimulation, are particularly effective at stirring it.Ever find yourself sitting down at the computer just for a second to find out what other movie you saw that actress in, only to look up and realize the search has led to an hour of Googling? Thank dopamine. Our internalsense of timeis believed to be controlled by the dopamine system. People with hyperactivity disorder have a shortage of dopamine in their brains, which a recentstudysuggests may be at the root of the problem. For them even small stretches of time seem to drag. An article by Nicholas Carr inthe Atlanticlast year, "Is Google Making Us Stupid?" speculates that our constant Internet scrolling is remodeling our brains to make it nearly impossible for us to give sustained attention to a long piece of writing. Like the lab rats, we keep hitting "enter" to get our next fix.Actually all our electronic communication devices—e-mail, Facebook feeds, texts, Twitter—are feeding the same drive as our searches. Since we're restless, easily bored creatures, our gadgets give us in abundance qualities the seeking/wanting system finds particularly exciting. Novelty is one. Panksepp says the dopamine system is activated by finding something unexpected or by the anticipation of something new. If the rewards come unpredictably—as e-mail, texts, updates do—we get even more carried away. No wonder we call it a "CrackBerry.”Wanting is Berridge's equivalent for Panksepp's seeking system. It is the liking system that Berridge believes is the brain's reward center. When we experience pleasure, it is our own opioid system, rather than our dopamine system, that is being stimulated. This is why the opiate drugs induce a kind of blissful stupor so different from the animating effect of cocaine and amphetamines. Wanting and liking are complementary. The former catalyzes us to action; the latter brings us to a satisfied pause. Seeking needs to be turned off, if even for a little while, so that the system does not run in an endless loop. When we get the object of our desire (be it a Twinkie or a sexual partner), we engage in consummatory acts that Panksepp says reduce arousal in the brain and temporarily, at least, inhibit our urge to seek.
  • Dr Larry Rosen: In his latest book called “i-Disorder: understanding our obsession with technology and overcoming its hold on us”, he draws on his many years of research and warns that we are all at risk of developing symptoms of psychological disorders as a result of the way we are now using technology and social media.”
  • And if you have any doubt that we’re already the ultimate BYOD cyborgs:From ABC radio “All In the Mind” episode “FUTURE MIND: ARE COMPUTERS RADICALLY CHANGING THE WAY WE THINK” with Professor Susan Greenfield neuroscientists have tapped into that interface between a thought and a movement and what this guy Nicoladis has done is actually repeat that in rats, and the rats suddenly realize they are not paralyzed that by virtue of just thinking they can avoid the muscular effort of pressing a bar and you can see the suddenly go think, drink, think, drink. So those I think are astonishing both medically and also the philosophy that it raises, which is what is a thought and when does a thought become an action and so on.”
  • Transcript

    • 1. The Homunculus Problem WHY YOU WILL LOSE THE BATTLE OF BYOD October 19-20, 2013
    • 2. Who Am I? • • • • Michele Chubirka, aka Mrs. Y. Senior security architect. B2B writer/blogger and host of Healthy Paranoia, information security podcast channel of Packetpushers. Researches and pontificates on topics such as security architecture and best practices.
    • 3. Entitlement „A survey that asked thousands of young 20something workers their attitudes about bring-yourown-device policies found slightly more than half view it as their "right" to use their own mobile devices at work, rather than BYOD being just a "privilege.”
    • 4. Shadow IT …1 out of 3 said they would gladly break any antiBYOD rules and "contravene a company's security policy that forbids them to use their personal devices at work or for work purposes."
    • 5. Where is “Self?”  Close your eyes.  Put your finger where you think your “self” is located.
    • 6. Homuncu-who? Term used in alchemy for an artificial, miniature human body.
    • 7. Homunculus In modern psychology and neuroscience, the homunculus represents the concept of “self.”
    • 8. Homunculus Argument The Homunculus Argument: A false idea of cognition based upon the illusion of Cartesian Theater: i.e. a little person or homunculus inside the head watching sensory data on a screen.
    • 9. Illusion of Cartesian Theater
    • 10. What Is Mind “The mind … is not bounded by the biological organism but extends into the environment of that organism. “
    • 11. Andy Clark and Extended Mind “Consider two subjects carry out a mathematical task. The first completes the task solely in her head, while the second completes the task with the assistance of paper and pencil. … as long as the cognitive results are the same there is no reason to count the means employed by the two subjects as different.…”
    • 12. The idea that mind is limited to “skin and skull” is arbitrary and false.
    • 13. Physical Boundaries  Neuroscientist, V.S. Ramachandran, studies Phantom Limb Syndrome.  It is the phenomenon of feeling the presence of a limb which has been amputated.  60% to 80% of those with amputations experience phantom sensations.  An individual can even feel excruciating pain associated with the phantom limb.
    • 14. Phantom Limbs  While working with combat veteran amputees, he discovered that they found relief when another person massaged their own limb.  This was attributed to mirror neurons and led him to studies using mirror boxes to create simulated limbs.
    • 15. What Does This Have To Do With BYOD?
    • 16. Neuroscience, Chemicals and BYOD
    • 17. My Device is my addiction.
    • 18. Just Like a Drug Neurobehavioralist Michael Seyffert indicates that one out of five teens have sleep interrupted due to texting. “Neuro-imaging studies have shown that those kids who are texting have that area of their brain light up the same as an addict using heroin.”
    • 19. Addiction  In a study of 205 people in Wurtzburg, Germany conducted by Chicago University it was found that resisting Twitter and email was harder than an urge for cigarettes and alcohol.  Researchers found that willpower became lower later in the day, but that the participants could still resist other impulses.
    • 20. Connection and Bonding  In a study conducted by neuroeconomist Dr. Paul Zak, it was demonstrated that oxytocin levels spike during the use of social media, while cortisol and ACTH levels decrease.  Oxytocin is a hormone linked to emotional bonding and empathy.  Cortisol and ACTH are stress hormones.
    • 21. "E-connection is processed in the brain like an inperson connection." -Dr. Paul Zak
    • 22. Seeking • Our “seeking” mechanism is controlled by the neurotransmitter dopamine. • Basically, it’s the chemical root of desire and humans are always seeking out this experience. • Think drugs of stimulation such as cocaine and amphetamines.
    • 23. Liking  Our “liking” system is the reward for the seeking. This is the opioid system being stimulated.  Wanting and liking are complementary.
    • 24. My Device is my identity.
    • 25. Manifestation of Ego “...every single psychiatric disorder can be predicted by use of technology and it turns out that one of the main culprits is social media. … social media is really a palate to express our personality….” - Dr. Larry Rosen, author of “iDisorder”
    • 26. Chimeras, Cyborgs and BCI “...high tech interaction certainly is already delivering therapeutically…quadriplegic people … by virtue of implants in the brain they can now will a cursor to move on a computer screen.” – Professor Susan Greenfield
    • 27. Beyond Neuroplasticity: The Hybrid Age “The Hybrid Age is a new sociotechnical era that is unfolding as technologies merge with each other and humans merge with technology …. Externally, technology no longer simply processes our instructions on a one-way street…. We don‟t just use technology; we absorb it.” - Parag Khanna and Ayesha Khanna
    • 28. BYOD Is Efficient, Security Is Expensive
    • 29. Bounded Rationality  The human brain is a “cognitive miser.”  It must optimize under constraints due to limitations of time, money and external agents.  Fast and frugal.  It evolved by creating an adaptive toolbox of smart heuristics, or shortcuts, that increased efficiency.  Effort from the user is never “free.”
    • 30. Humans always attempt to maximize reward, while minimizing punishment.
    • 31. Users Will Pick Dancing Pigs Every Time “…users are never offered security, …. They are offered long, complex and growing sets of advice, mandates, policy updates and tips. These sometimes carry vague and tentative suggestions of reduced risk, never security.” - Cormac Herley, “So Long, And No Thanks for the Externalities: The Rational Rejection of Security Advice by Users”
    • 32. Final Thoughts The answer to BYOD cannot be, “No,” but a qualified “Yes, and….”
    • 33. Where Am I? Spending quality time in kernel mode practicing and refining my particular form of snark.  Twitter @MrsYisWhy Google+ MrsYisWhy    le-Chubirka
    • 34. Questions? Feedback?