The late fifteenth-century European humanist Jacobus Publicius's Art of Memory (the first edition of which was printed in Venice in 1482) speaks of memory (by which he means trained memory and its associated memory-practices) as capable of transforming us from "mute beings, incapable of speech…into skilled and eloquent speakers" (quoted in Carruthers and Ziolkowski, The Medieval Craft of Memory, 232). The theory of locational memory is the means, he assures us, "by which the advantages of nature are strengthened and the endowments of natural ability are augmented" (quoted 236). And Publicius trusts in science to deliver this enhancement: "It has already been established by experiment that the combining of letters and material objects [images] brings us a great, immeasurable, and almost divine advantage" (quoted 249).
So you are saying that technology came before humans?
The archaeological record shows chipped stone tool technologies earlier than 2.5 million years ago. That's the smoking gun. The oldest fossil specimen of the genus Homo is at most 2.2 million years old. That's a gap of more than 300,000 years - more than the total length of time that Homo sapiens has been on the planet. This suggests that earlier hominins called australopithecines were responsible for the stone tools.
Is it possible that we just don't have a genus Homo fossil, but they really were around?
Some researchers are holding out for an earlier specimen of genus Homo. I'm trying to free us to think that we had stone tools first and that those tools created a significant part of our intelligence. The tools caused the genus Homo to emerge.
"These tools were not ends in themselves, they were for doing things, like butchering animals, and, perhaps, for making things, such as slings. The loop of hide that makes the simple sling can not only scare away a predator with a stone, it can be used to carry. And the most critical load for a little, savannah-dwelling biped to carry would have been its own infant progeny."
"Once you have slings to carry babies, you have broken a glass ceiling - it doesn't matter whether the infant is helpless for a day, a month or a year. You can have ever more helpless young and that, as far as I can see, is how encephalisation took place in the genus Homo. We used technology to turn ourselves into kangaroos. Our children are born more and more underdeveloped because they can continue to develop outside the womb - they become an extra-uterine fetus in the sling."
"Many previous theorists have imagined that hominin young mothers, rendered helpless by their offspring, must have been desperate for base-camp provisioning and protection. Both could have been provided by an incipient hubby/ape-man, whose innovative skills allowed the emergence of language (communication during the hunt) and technology (tools of the hunt). Roll on 1950…[B]ut if we can imagine for a moment that females are inventive too, then the fix, [baby-carrying slings] might be considered more technological than social."
"By solving a carrying problem for a bipedal ape, this invention – made, I believe, by an australopithecine female with little more brain power than a modern chimp – opened the way to our becoming human."