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Michael Chorost, Ph.D.

Personal Info
Photo of Michael Chorost
Speaker Bio: 

Michael Chorost is the author of two books, Rebuilt: How Becoming Part Computer Made Me More Human (2005), a memoir of getting a cochlear implant, and World Wide Mind: The Coming Integration of Humans and Machines (2011), an examination of what technology can know and transmit about the conscious experience of the brain. His work concerns questions such as, “What are computers doing to our bodies, our friendships, and our working lives? How do we live whole and full lives in a world saturated with technology?” He has also written about emerging technologies for Wired, The Washington Post, Technology Review, and PBS. Born with severe-to-profound hearing losses in 1964 due to an epidemic of rubella, he began wearing hearing aids at 3½ and switched to cochlear implants in 2001 when he lost the rest of his hearing (the cause is still unknown.) He got his B.A. at Brown University and his Ph.D. at the University of Texas at Austin. He has given over 110 lectures at universities and corporations about humanity’s future in a technological age. He lives with his wife and their three cats in Washington, D.C., where he writes as both an author and a freelancer.

Presentation Info

Cyborg Ear, Cyborg I: Writing a Book, Rewriting a Life
April 26, 2012, 7:00 p.m.
Student Development Center (Bldg. 55), Rm. 1300/1310

Lecture Abstract:
The day Dr. Chorost went deaf, he sat down at his keyboard and started writing. Rebuilt, his memoir of getting a cochlear implant, was written as he went through surgery, mapping, and the long process of learning how to hear all over again. He’ll talk about how he shepherded the book through getting an agent and signing with a major New York publisher. Through writing the book, he also overcame personal issues that had troubled him for decades. In a very real sense, while he wrote the book, the book also rewrote him. Dr. Chorost is a funny and personable speaker, and in this intimate evening he’ll share with you what he learned about the processes of writing and personal change.

Recommended Readings:
Chorost, M. (2005). Rebuilt: How Becoming Part Computer Made Me More Human. Autobiography.  Free Press.

Chorost, M. (2011). World Wide Mind: The Coming Integration of Humans and Machines.  Mariner Books.

Workshop Abstract: 

Every Good Memoir Tells Two Stories: Mastering the Double Discourse
April 27, 2012, 10:00 a.m. - noon
Student Development Center (Bldg. 55), Rm. 1300/1310

Workshop Abstract:
A good memoir doesn’t just tell a chronological story. It also uses the story to shed light on some larger issue in society. In other words, it transcends the specifics of the writer’s life to reveal insights that are of interest to a wide range of readers. Thus in his memoir of growing up black in the 1820s, Frederick Douglass also analyzed the ideas of freedom and slavery – a topic of much wider interest than race alone. In his brilliant memoir The Unheard, Josh Swiller wrote about being a deaf Peace Corps volunteer in Africa, but also told a larger story of how human beings communicate across profound differences. This is “double discourse” – writing in which each part contributes simultaneously to telling a story and to making an argument. In this workshop, you’ll work out a double discourse of your own, and create a table of contents for it.