Nugget: Man-Computer Symbiosis

As has been said in various ways, men are noisy, narrow-band devices, but their nervous systems have very many parallel and simultaneously active channels. Relative to men, computing machines are very fast and very accurate, but they are constrained to perform only one or a few elementary operations at a time. Men are flexible, capable of “programming themselves contingently” on the basis of newly received information. Computing machines are single-minded, constrained by their ” pre-programming.” — Man-Computer Symbiosis, J. C. R. Licklider

Often times people become too dependent on technology and what the computer can do for us. While the computer has greatly evolved over time, we are continually finding more and more advances and conveniences that it can offer for us daily. This statement was very intriguing to me because as amazing as the computer is with all its functions can offer for us, this statement aims to describe the true limitations of a computer. While the computer maybe faster and more accurate, it does not have the ability to adapt to changes nor the capacity to learn on its own. The computer thinks very linearly, like an equation, and knows merely as much information as it is programmed to know. Yes, man may be slower in processing its information; but in contrast to the computer, man does have the ability to adapt to change and has the capacity to learn on its own. With each new or habitual encounter man comes across, a man’s memory allows him almost an infinite storage of information that he can subconsciously and self-sufficiently store in his memory bank for later use. Man is also self-functioning and self-sustaining, while a computer must be told what to do.

My interpretation of this passage is important because how relevant it is to my selected passage found in Nugget: As We May Think. If we functioned like computers, we would never be able to gain new information so that we could holistically make connections between these new ideas and incorporate that with knowledge we already have. As self-thriving humans, we were born as learners, thinkers, and innovators. It is our ability to learn from experience to gain new knowledge; our ability as thinkers to process that knowledge; and our ability as innovators to easily figure out how to adapt into and out of any situation we are placed in as we prepare ourselves for each new encounter we may come across.


EDIT:

This statement aims to describe the true limitations of computers that we are blindsided by daily. While the computer has greatly evolved over time, we are continually finding more and more advances and conveniences that it can offer for us daily. Yet with all the positive aspects of it, people often times abuse it and become too dependent on technology. As DCAT says, “while it is something that should be integrated into the world it should also be used in moderation.” This statement was very intriguing to me because as amazing as the computer is with all its functions can offer for us, do we, as a society, ever think about how much more we can do for ourselves than the computer offers for us?

While the computer may be faster and more accurate, it does not have the ability to adapt to changes nor the capacity to learn on its own. The computer thinks very linearly, like an equation, and knows merely as much information as it is programmed to know. Yes, man may be slower in processing its data; but in contrast to the computer, man does have the ability to adapt to change and has the capacity to learn on its own. With each new or habitual encounter man comes across, a man’s memory allows him almost an infinite storage of gained knowledge that he can subconsciously and self-sufficiently store himself for later use. Man is also self-functioning and self-sustaining, while a computer must be told what to do.

My interpretation of this passage is important because how relevant it is to my selected passage found in Nugget: As We May Think. If we functioned like computers, we would never be able to gain new information so that we could holistically make connections between these new ideas and incorporate that with knowledge we already have. As self-thriving humans, we were born as learners, thinkers, and innovators. It is our ability to learn from experience to gain new knowledge; our ability as thinkers to process that knowledge; and our ability as innovators to easily figure out how to adapt into and out of any situation we are placed in as we prepare ourselves for each new encounter we may come across.

However, reading through Zahra’s Man-Computer Symbiosis post, it causes me to want to clarify my stance on the use of computers vs. the thoughts of man. Zahra mentions that “by pairing the two [man and computer] together, a synergy is created that can lead to endless possibilities,” and I can see where some truth can come from this. While I do not think that the computer holds us back completely from creatively thinking and processing the ideas ourselves, I think that being used in moderation, the use of the computer can be incorporated into the way we holistically think. Sometimes it can further offer us new sources of information that allow for more thought-provoking ideas we were initially unaware of.


SN: I noticed that in ewingjm2‘s Man-Computer Symbiosis post, the following quote was used:

“The tree and the insect are thus heavily interdependent: the tree cannot reproduce wit bout the insect; the insect cannot eat wit bout the tree; together, they constitute not only a viable but a productive and thriving partnership”. — Man-Computer Symbiosis, J.C.R. Licklider

Reading through his post, it was very thought provoking to me as I was able to link this quote to my explanation of holistic thinking found in Nugget: As We May Think. I liked the way he was able to relate how the tree and insect are interdependent similar to how the mind and body were interdependent too. Thus it reminded how all of our thought processes are interdependent of one another and without each other, our thoughts wouldn’t be as wholesome, filled with creativity and perspective.

Although this does not provide much to edit to my original post, I like how it still relevant to both my nugget posts and can be used as further supporting text.

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