Monthly Archives: September 2015

Nugget-Ted Nelson at Midterm

“Rather than seek to achieve in the way they are supposed to, students turn to churlishness, surliness, or intellectual sheepishness. A general human motivation is god-given at the beginning and warped or destroyed by the educational process as we know it; thus we internalize at last that most fundamental of grownup goals: just to get through another day. Because of this procedure our very notion of human ability has suffered. Adult mentality is cauterized, and we call it “normal.” Most people’s minds are mostly turned off most of the time. We know virtually nothing of human abilities except as they have been pickled and boxed in schools; we need to ignore all that and start fresh. To want students to be “normal” is criminal, when we are all so far below our potential.”

         Nelson is trying  re-innovate the student’s learning process and stray away  from institutional conforming education. Nelson feels that rigid lesson plans and stringent interpretation of intelligence mistakenly limits the students innate ability to acquire knowledge. Computer base education is  scrutinize because the computer is expressed as a “cold” inanimate object that sole purpose is to be commanded, while a living person can passionately articulate lessons and experiences to students. The misconception is that even before computers we have been using inanimate objects to learn without the “warm” guiding hand of an instructor. When you buy a vacuum, you open the box and you find an array of bubble wrapped components and accessories that is waiting for construction. You dig to the bottom of the box and find the assembly manual,  a coarse parchment that teaches(tools,parts,diagrams,drawings..etc) and guides you to the proper assemblage of the vacuum.  I don’t think Nelson is stating that all teachers are bad but that the teacher isn’t going compliment every students learning style. He’s stating that the computer system is a mechanism that can be manipulated NOT to restrict how the student learns, regardless of student’s individual learning style. That’s an important point, its easier to systematically design a computer(programs,applications, databases,algorithmic props) than restrict a “human” teacher with experiences,beliefs and bias. I remember when I was a sophomore and I was required to take University Physics II, my professor was foreign. The lecture was abysmal, he had a very harsh and thick accent that made interpretation nearly impossible. The course was difficult enough without trying to decipher what the professor is saying, coupled with an assertive personally made him unapproachable. Luckily, I had homework through a online homework database that cleared up discrepancies, gave examples and rewarded correct answers. Change is inevitable, utile to fight and ever-evolving, embrace it                         . 

Nugget: Ted Nelson at Mid-term

Education ought to be clear, inviting and enjoyable, without booby-traps, humiliations, condescension or boredom. It ought to teach and reward initiative, curiosity, the habit of self-motivation, intellectual involvement. Students should develop, through practice, abilities to think, argue and disagree intelligently.

I have taken some online classes in different subjects before, and now obviously I am taking this one. My experience with online learning has been mixed: I love the flexibility it provides but I feel most classes are not comparable to face-to-face ones when it comes to expectations and assignments. I don’t know why, but in most classes I’ve taken the students are left kind of “floating around” not really knowing what we are supposed to do. Maybe that’s because it’s harder to understand written instructions versus verbal ones – and also the fact that real-time interactions are not (generally) part of online classes. In this sense, I feel that online classes have “booby-traps” because there’s a lot of room for misunderstandings among the students and instructors.

The good part about online classes is that it teaches you more than the subject itself but also discipline, or “self-motivation” as Nelson calls it. If you don’t sit down and do your homework and readings, nobody is going to know – at least not until you’re late with assignments and failing the class. It’s easy to get distracted when doing homework because you can just open another tab and take a BuzzFeed quiz instead, and your professor is none the wiser. In this case I believe online classes are great for preparing students for their future jobs, where their bosses won’t be monitoring them constantly (hopefully).

I also believe that online classes are great for making students reflect on their language and how they express themselves. It’s a lot easier to sound rude in writing, so when we have discussions on Blackboard or through our blogs, we all need to make sure our point is clear and we are sounding respectful. In a world where text and email are the main forms of communication in offices, communicating effectively in writing is essential. Only by practicing we can learn to “argue and disagree intelligently.”

Twitter Handles

This week you will be asked to tweet out to 3 students in our class to ask them about their IP project.  Make sure to include #thoughtvectors in your tweet.

@jm6johnson

@williamsni2242

@bwoodman14

@jaffeywang

@catsandcoffee25

@AyishaQadir

@_lauramarieee

@ShojaHosna

@g_frields

@k_durt

—  Do the students below have an IP Project focus?

@theianthomas

@7_Ruger

@harrisontb2

@vesterr

@klassettml

Man-Computer Symbiosis

“It is often said that programming for a computing machine forces one to think clearly, that it disciplines the thought process. If the user can think his problem through in advance, symbiotic association with a computing machine is not necessary”.

I thought this was interesting because all my life I used to think that computers were created to do things for us and solve problems humans were incapable of solving. I never realized that human themselves have to create the system and program in order for the computer to solve the problem. This means that computers are only here to compute things at a faster pace than a human can. Technically, we do not need computers, however they make our lives more efficient. Such as using a calculator to do a problem that can be solved by hand.

IP Call For Response

I am studying genetically modified organisms as food because I want to find out if they pose a public health risk in order to inform my readers on a relevant food issue that will have consequences in the future.

Research Question: What are the risks to GMO foods and why do people think they are bad?

Because this is a subject of hot debate, I was especially wary to find credible sources that I knew to be trusted. The internet is rife with misinformation. I knew there was a National Geographic article on the subject, who I trust to be a fair and credible source. I found that genetically modified foods are in 60% of the products on the shelves at grocery stores and have been around since the ’90s. If there are risks, they can;’t be immediately noticeable, because the majority of the grocery store  contains products made with this method. GMOs are monitored by the USDA, the FDA, and the EPA, although safety assessments are not mandatory. I’m not sure why everything made in for human consumption isn’t mandatorily tested for safety.  I had not previously considered how allergies might come into play when taking genes from one plant and splicing them into another. Tests have shown humans reacting to other foods modified with genes from their allergens. Scientists hope to use GMO technology to remove allergens from foods. In a world with exponential population growth and dwindling resources, this food technology will be relevant in our future.  An article from the Society of Toxicologists states that GMO foods do not hold higher health risks than food made with traditional breeding methods. Humans altering the genetics of plants and animals around them is nothing new.

CALL FOR RESPONSES

How do you feel about GMO foods?

Do you pick items in the store because of their non-GMO label?

Have you encountered anti-GMO information?

 

 

Interest Inventory

While working on this assignment, I found a pattern in my responses. The ideas that kept popping in my head where ones that I think about on a regular basis. I’ve found a special interest in how misinformation travels around the internet. The topics of GMOs and vaccinations both fall under this umbrella and are both topics that I think about in my interpretation of the world. Both are things created by scientists to solve a problem and improve the lives of humans, and both have been rejected by a sect of people because of safety concerns.

My Conceptual Network

Computers are meticulous and have been programmed to function a certain way. Present day computers are designed primarily to solve reformulated problems or to process data according to predetermined procedures. The course of the computation may be conditional upon results obtained during the computation, but all the alternatives must be foreseen in advance. We no longer need humans to communicate directly but instead we can communicate through the internet. This is quite the obvious statement. able to send multiple people the same message at the same time does nothing but quicken the process of sending the message. This lost time represents a shortening of the distance between the human brain and the computer. If scientific reasoning were limited to the logical processes of arithmetic, we should not go far in our understanding of the world.

People who would have otherwise no access to education are able to log into class anywhere at any time. As someone who is very new to online courses, it is evident to me that learning over the internet is a skill that will be helpful to me in the future.The accounts I follow reflect my interests, and the vast majority of the users are people I have never met. As an art student, I can really see the value in making money by creating something that you care about. This is another situation that was drastically altered by the emergence of the internet. The individual is given a platform to tell the world what he or she has to say, and that might be lovingly written prose about what exploration goes on late at night in the dorms at a boarding school of witchcraft and wizardry. I think each person is uniquely capable of making these associations based on their interests.These associations seem just as challenging to recreate, if not more.

When thinking about the future and how much more everything could potentially continue to change, it can be scary to think about our great grandkids or even grandkids growing up in a completely different technological world than we did. If society has changed so much  today than in recent years, what do we have coming in future years in regards to technology and the media?

I’ve always found it very interesting that a thought cannot be measured. Thoughts do not feel made, but discovered. It seemed like a road well traveled.Of course this was a dead end but it was too intriguing to not click on. I think this another one of those black holes that is both interesting and not what I’m looking for.

Man-Computer Symbiosis NUGGET

   The nugget from the reading that I’m focusing on is the  communication barrier between machines and humans. Licklider says that it is easier to solve a problem (reactive) once it makes itself available than to think everything through (proactive), which would in turn make that “problem”  never exist. This type of thinking stems from procrastination and laziness. I will be the first person to admit that I agree with the statement, however, looking deeper into it I begin to understand the underlying issue.

If I created the computer and I know everything it is capable of doing, and it does end up malfunctioning I will be able to immediately diagnose the problem and begin to fix it. This is not true for everyone especially if I am simply a consumer. In this case, for a vast number of people, I know nothing about the computer so I read the manual and follow the troubleshooting guide in order to fix what I think is the problem. In reality if someone had thought every problem through there would be no need for the troubleshooting guide.

Man-Computer Symbiosis NUGGET
“Right”

This thinking also brings up the thoughts of Wikipedia. It is a sight filled with information.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Five_pillars.

Most schools don’t allow the use of information gathered from Wikipedia onto any graded assignments, but most people get their general information from Wikipedia and Google. Although there are tons of different researches and perspectives on wikipedia, and the internet in general, a lot of it cannot be trusted. Professional researchers who perform the daily grind of taking out time, performing studies, spending hard-gotten funds on different projects refuse to rely on the validity of the information that is available on Wikipedia because anyone can create anything at any time on the site.  This doesn’t mean that nothing is true, rather the credibility of the person posting the information is unknown.

This would not be a problem if, number one, credible information is free. Also, if more people knew and understood their strengths they would be more inclined to delve deeper into their respective fields and work out the kinks in their practices and finally create a cohesive one-stop-shop of information that anyone could use.

There is also the system of checks-and-balances that has to be taken into account. It would likely be better that a team of researchers collectively agree on a piece of information instead of an individual only because there is a less chance of fabrication and bias.

Analyzing what was obvious to me.

A bachelor’s degree requires a minimum of 120 credits.

11:10 am

So I started my search with what I believed to be an obvious statement: “A bachelor’s degree requires a minimum of 120 credits”. However, being my social justice loving self, I ended up reading this post about international rights. This time, since I was supposed to use the computer as a compass, I looked for things I really wanted to know and understand. I didn’t want to just read cool things, I wanted to learn why this was a widely accepted fact. Apparently, according to this PDF report, 120 wasn’t always the minimum. In fact, it wasn’t even required. A majority of programs were around 123-128 credits. It wasn’t until 1995 when the Nation Center for Education Statistics released a report showing that the average credits earned before a degree conferral was 136. In response, Florida put out legislation requiring all bachelor’s degrees to have a 120 hour minimum, except on a case-by-case basis as determined by the Florida Board of Regents. After Florida, multiple states and schools followed suite even though they weren’t required to under any circumstances. How did I get from this to social justice you ask? Well, I decided to dig deeper.

The next question I had was, “Why do we have semester hours and quarter hours?” So I searched that next, and I came up on this lovely article detailing the difference along with pros and cons. Apparently, semester hours are more commonly used and quarter hours don’t transfer well, but quarter hours allow for more classes taken in a shorter time frame and are more focused on the material. I thought this was pretty interesting, especially since one of the master’s programs I was considering runs on a quarter hour system. From here, I asked myself “Well, how did higher education even start?”

Once I searched that question, I came up with a list of results that only focused on higher ed in America, but I wanted a holistic view of it. Thankfully, Wikipedia saved the day again by having an article solely about higher education. It talks about higher ed in more developed countries, vocational schools and community colleges, and it even breaks it down into different types of majors. It was a fascinating read, and then something caught my eye. In the second paragraph of the article, it was talking about international human rights, and at the end of the paragraph was a link to something about the right to education. Curiosity piqued, I followed my gut and the link to the next page.

Apparently there was an international convention about the right to education, including “equitable access to higher education, ideally by the progressive introduction of free higher education.” While a good majority of countries was on the list for ratification, the U.S. was not. The U.S. signed the document, but never ratified it. From there, well it was just article after article about human rights and the three generations of rights. I loved this assignment more than associative trails honestly. By having the freedom to choose a starting point more near and dear to me, I was able to find links and articles much more quickly. I even went over the 50 minute time limit because I was so engrossed in what I was reading. I now have a new paper topic and several sources for another class of mine. This was way too fun. I also learned that no matter the topic, I’ll still find a way to see if it is equal and accessible to under-served, underrepresented, and marginalized groups. My research might become inherently biased since I’m a racial minority, so I do need to watch myself and make sure I research arguments against my trains of thoughts to see if I can counter them logically.

My favorite nugget ever.

Okay, so this is the Man-Computer Symbiosis nugget and as a person who loves science fiction, this got me really excited. The quote I picked was this:

“It may be appropriate to acknowledge at this point that we are using the term “computer” to cover a wide class of calculating, data-processing, and information-storage-and-retrieval machines. The capabilities of machines in this class are increasing almost daily. It is therefore hazardous to make general statements about capabilities of this class. Perhaps it is equally hazardous to make general statements about the capabilities of men. Nevertheless certain genotypic differences in capability between men and computers do stand out and they have a bearing on the nature of possible man-computer symbiosis and the potential value of achieving it.”

This made me so incredibly excited because there are so many options! By defining computers in such a broad way, the choices are limitless! If you want symbiosis, what about the android from fallout 3?

His name is Harkness, and he is a perfect symbiosis of man and machine. On the outside, he looks like a typical, cisgender, heterosexual white male. However, on the inside, he is pure machine. He was created by the Commonwealth, a community up in post-apocalyptic Boston that creates androids to make their lives easier. Harkness here escaped the Commonwealth and made it down to the Capital Wasteland. If none of you are following me, that’s okay, I’m definitely nerding out right now and I don’t expect anyone to follow.

Or, what about Bender and Fry from futurama? In season 10, episode 11, Bender and Fry are outside on the hull of the Planet Express ship trying to fix the engine. Bender’s gyroscope gets busted, and he stuffs Fry in his compartment so he can fix it.

My favorite nugget ever.

The result of that is yet another symbiosis of man and machine, albeit an unconventional one. There could come a day when we have robotic exoskeletons. Who knows for sure?

And speaking of robotic exoskeletons, let’s talk about Halo. There’s a show called Red vs. Blue on Youtube and Netflix which is about soldiers who get into all types of crazy shenanigans. One of the plot lines was *SPOILER ALERT* that there was a group of soldiers called Freelancers, and they have amazing, high-tech armor. However, they can’t use certain parts of their armor with an A.I., or artificial intelligence. Here’s the majority of the AI from the show.

My favorite nugget ever.

These little people right here could help their soldiers turn invisible, drop shields, hack databases, retrieve intelligence, analyze combat situations and give percentage rates of success and injury in less than 10 seconds. This perfect symbiosis could revolutionize military combat. Imagine going on to the battlefield, rifle in hand, and having a voice in your ear tell you everything that’s going on before your enemy can even fire a bullet. It’s incredible.

The options for symbiosis are unbelievably expansive and infinite. The direction we’re heading now, we could easily see more closely aligned computer-human interaction within the next decade. Our entire lives are becoming files on electronic databases. Who’s to say that we won’t become electronic ourselves?

While reading this article, I couldn’t help but think of a few classmates’ blog posts that were related to this in some way. Like GabbingGabby’s post about how it feels when she thinks. She said that computers aren’t capable of emotion, and that’s it a solely human trait. She also said she couldn’t imagine programming computers with emotions without it ending in “a crazy action movie with robots taking over the world.” I think that she’s right, for now. But eventually, science make come up with a way to make robots akin to humans in terms of emotions.  After all, emotions are just a series of chemical processes in the brain. Given enough time, we could replicate it just like we’ve replicated numerous neural pathways in the brain already. If we lived in a world like I, Robot, I can’t say I’d be mad honestly.

However, there’s also security, like jaffreywang brought up in his associative trails post. How would symbiosis affect electronic security? Would be more secure, due to having more encryption keys and such, or would we be less secure since everyone is operating on the same wavelength more or less? It makes me think of the game WatchDogs, in which the entire city of Chicago uses one operating system, ctOS. Because everyone is on that system, if a person hacks one thing, he hacks it all. This is displayed in game, like this trailer here with beautiful graphics. How would internet security and privacy be affected by a man-computer symbiosis? These are the questions that keep me up at night.

I also thought of hruiz’s nugget on augmenting human intellect, and that got me going. If we reached symbiosis, what would that do to our intelligence? Would we become so intelligent that we lost touch with our emotions, like the Observers in Fringe?My favorite nugget ever.

Or, would we retain our emotions along with our heightened intelligence? Would we be more analytical than a super computer, or the lines of code used in space shuttle launch, or would we still be bested by computers since we wouldn’t technically be computers ourselves, but something mixed with a computer?

This nugget is going to keep me up for days just thinking all of the different possibilities there could be when reach a true symbiosis of man and machine.