Man-Computer Symbiosis

The first thing to face is that we shall not store all the technical and scientific papers in computer memory. We may store the parts that can be summarized most succinctly-the quantitative parts and the reference citations-but not the whole. Books are among the most beautifully engineered, and human-engineered, components in existence, and they will continue to be functionally important within the context of man-computer symbiosis. Hopefully, the computer will expedite the finding, delivering, and returning of books.”

In an otherwise eerily on point piece of writing (eery in the sense of yet another great mind from decades ago predicting so well what the future of technology hold) I must point out what resonated with me in a completely different way.  This is a bit sad and ironic to look back on.

We may store the parts that can be summarized most succinctly-the quantitative parts and the reference citations-but not the whole.” That is not how it went. We have gotten to the point that if it can not be rendered succinct, it is more likely than not destined to fall by the way side.  For a while, I think computers served purposes closer to those predicted in Man-Computer Symbiosis, but over time the culture shifted to a generation that is perpetually in a hurry and will not sift to find the information, we want it presented. (I say “we,” I do this as much as any.)  And then there is the part about the importance of books, and how “they will continue to be functionally important within the context of man-computer symbiosis.” But now everything is being digitalized, and in a hundred years, there may not be books to hold and flip through, not without the use of technology. I hope it does not end up that way, and I do not mean to get on a soapbox here! I just found myself shaking my head at this part, smiling sadly, and felt it should be the segment I reflected upon. 

In this blog, (http://rampages.us/elisey/2014/06/17/man-computer-symbiosis-nugget-2/) the quote reflected upon is one that maps out the difference in human processing and computer processing.  Its writer points out that we are the only species that can think about thinking. A computer can plan and hypothesize in a way, but they do not think. They just do, “Sorta like instinct.” Computers have a long way to go until they can transcend the way human thought can. 

(http://rampages.us/linaibrahim/2014/06/17/man-computer-symbiosis/) The topic of this blog is Google Glass. In the chosen quote from  Man-Computer Symbiosis, it states that there are no man computer symbiosis’s yet. At that time, there was indisputably none, but today, you could argue that Google Glass is pretty much an example of one. We are further along than I thought, in that regard, and it caught my eye. 

(http://rampages.us/khoorivcu/2014/06/17/bman-computer-symbiosisb/) The last blog I’d like to point out stuck with me due to its optimism. The quote it chose to explain spoke of these times we are living in now, saying, “those years should be intellectually the most creative and exciting in the history of mankind.” That made me hopeful and happy, and seemed to have a similar effect on the composer of the post. Sure, we can’t make it through a day without a computer (as the post states). But these are truly amazing times we live in. So much is possible that was impossible, and now those floodgates have been opened, for more impossible things to no longer be seen as such. 

One thought on “Man-Computer Symbiosis”

  1. “We have gotten to the point that if it can not be rendered succinct, it is more likely than not destined to fall by the way side. For a while, I think computers served purposes closer to those predicted in Man-Computer Symbiosis, but over time the culture shifted to a generation that is perpetually in a hurry and will not sift to find the information, we want it presented.” Is a great thought. Can you say more as to why you believe this? For instance, why do you believe books will go away? Why is this significant, and how does it connect to your point about “we” quickly gloss over information? More here would bolster your point.
    Additionally, what digital text are you considering here?

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