User Illusion

The user illusion is the illusion created for the user by a human-computer interface, for example the visual metaphor of a desktop used in many graphical user interfaces. The phrase originated at Xerox PARC. Some philosophers of mind have argued that consciousness is a form of user illusion. This notion is explored by Danish popular science author Tor Nørretranders in his 1991 book ‘Mærk verden,’ issued in a 1998 English edition as ‘The User Illusion: Cutting Consciousness Down to Size.’

He introduced the notion of exformation  (explicitly discarded information) in this book. According to this picture, our experience of the world is not immediate, as all sensation requires processing time. It follows that our conscious experience is less a perfect reflection of what is occurring, and more a simulation produced unconsciously by the brain. Therefore, there may be phenomena that exist beyond our peripheries, beyond what consciousness could create to isolate or reduce them.

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