Life happens. We evolved from single-celled bacteria into bipedal mammals and we dominate the world today with our big brains and unparalleled intelligence. This is because man’s problem-solving capability represents possibly the most important resource possessed by a society. Science has provided the swiftest communication between individuals; it has provided a record of ideas and has enabled man to manipulate and to make extracts from that record so that knowledge evolves and endures throughout the life of a race rather than that of an individual.
How did we survive without knowing what everyone is up to at all times? These connections stood out to me because I love social media but I really need to stop reaching for my phone all the time. Man-computer symbiosis is an expected development in cooperative interaction between men and electronic computers. Nowadays the “final frontier” seems to be creating a machine that is at least as smart as ourselves, and maybe even smarter. We refer to a way of life in an integrated domain where hunches, cut-and-try, intangibles, and the human “feel for a situation” usefully co-exist with powerful concepts, streamlined terminology and notation, sophisticated methods, and high-powered electronic aids. For mature thought there is no mechanical substitute. With that being said, Licklider’s vision has been fulfilled.
This assignment really got me thinking on a completely different level. “The question is not, ‘What is the answer?’ The question is, ‘What is the question?'” I started off knowing the answer to my search, but I ended up with something so much deeper that the obvious. It’s hard to translate inquisitive, “mind” questions to “Google” questions, especially when we are so used to having Google complete our questions for us. If my computer had known exactly what I was asking I could have gotten a better answer. But my failure at reproducing perfection taught me a very useful lesson: to lower my expectations. My brain never stops thinking. It always amazes me how my brain works on solving problems when I’m not even aware of them. Vannevar Bush would certainly approve!
It saddens me to think that, just as you can lead a horse to water but you cannot make it drink, we can expand our human knowledge as much as we want, but it is up to individuals to be interested in it. I personally don’t believe Google is making us stupid, perhaps just a bit lazy? Since I am not from the United States, I’m always interested in learning tidbits of American culture whenever I can. By learning more about our country and its culture I start to think of myself as a part of it and not just an observer. As you read and find the answers to a question you automatically find new and different information that leads you to many other questions. As a researcher I learned that the more interested I am in the subject, the more diligent I am in capturing the full picture.
I’m still relying on good ol’ pen and paper to take notes, because I feel retain information better that way – and science agrees with me. It’s full-blown utopia, of course, because the real world is nothing like that.