Concept Experience #3 – Creating a Concept Network

I have not narrowed any ideas yet but I am brainstorming constantly.  I feel as if the human mind might be too abstract to effectively model. It is forever creating, modifying, and deleting links as new information is processed. By forcing that unnatural way of association on our thought process is not allowing us to use our mind to our full capacity. There are so many types of thought that I have that one feeling seems much too small to express the gamut of emotions thought can provoke.

It’s as if I am falling in a bottomless pit of my own questions and thoughts, sometimes a very dark place. If we cannot move from this unnatural style of organization we might never achieve the ideas he talks about, and reach the potential of humanity as far as the mind goes.

This fear is plausible, and I think we are right to wonder.

I often say the millennials suffer from a lack of critical thinking skills and common sense caused by letting computers do everything from them. Our society has developed a norm that enables everything from food, technology, and everyday lifestyles to be quick, easy, and efficient. We suffer because the computer can’t perform the operations we want it to, or we lose valuable information because the spyware records our keystrokes.

How will we know when enough is enough?

Week two gave me some food for thought because I had to teach myself what was obvious from a general perspective. I have never been able to grasp simple concepts because I over think them by my very nature. With one item in its grasp, it snaps instantly to the next that is suggested by the association of thoughts, in accordance with some intricate web of trails carried by the cells of the brain. This concept is actually very difficult for me. It also made me realize that a good research topic brings more question than answers in the early stages.

Men appear to think more naturally and easily in terms of goals than in terms of courses. This is because man’s problem-solving capability represents possibly the most important resource possessed by a society. Yet the speed of action, the intricacy of trails, the detail of mental pictures, is awe-inspiring beyond all else in nature.

Computer instruction through specification of goals is being approached along two paths. However, the consistent part among the two concepts is that it was up to the human problem solver to analyze the data and figure out the best solution. There can be little benefit to a machine because a machine is an inanimate object. Every person who does his thinking with symbolized concepts (whether in the form of the English language, pictographs, formal logic, or mathematics) should be able to benefit significantly.

Maybe society is too focused on finding definite solutions, if we just began trying to do things we might end up with more knowledge. So I think we should just keep doing what we are doing, because if it isn’t broken, why try to fix it. To search, comprehend, and ultimately understand a concept; seems like a lot of work to me for such a minuscule end result.

I think everyone’s point of views in responses to my blog and original postings will help me narrow down ideas naturally.

Nugget #3 Augmenting Human Intellect

“Let us consider an augmented architect at work. He sits at a working station that has a visual display screen some three feet on a side; this is his working surface, and is controlled by a computer (his “clerk” ) with which he can communicate by means of a small keyboard and various other devices.”

“In such a future working relationship between human problem-solver and computer ‘clerk,’ the capability of the computer for executing mathematical processes would be used whenever it was needed. However, the computer has many other capabilities for manipulating and displaying information that can be of significant benefit to the human in nonmathematical processes of planning, organizing, studying, etc. Every person who does his thinking with symbolized concepts (whether in the form of the English language, pictographs, formal logic, or mathematics) should be able to benefit significantly.”

This is my favorite view for how technology should grow to help us. I think this is in part due to how many television shows saturated my mind with the human problem solver having a working relationship with any non human thing. My second concept experience was about the power rangers ad I mentioned they were given powers of prehistoric animals. What I did not explain is those prehistoric animals could be summoned in a robot form, called zords, to augment their own power.

And when that wasn’t enough power, they could make their five zords combine into the megazord, where each of the five power rangers controlling and problem-solving issues for a certain portion (right leg, left leg, right arm, left arm, and the head & chest). The machine was infinitely more powerful than the humans, even with super powers, but the strength could only be used if the human was problem-solving and controlling it.

The Megazord
The Megazord

Another show that comes to mind is Digimon. The name itself is short for digital monsters, and the premise was a group of humans were taken to the digital world, where they had a digimon partner. The partner would get stronger, and access new levels of possible transformations as his human partner learned more about them and became better at utilizing their partners unique skills. A prophecy foretold of a group of humans and their digimon partners being the only one’s who could save the digital world and our world from destruction due to impending evil.

The Digimon and their human partners in the Digital world.

Even in this example, the digimon were the ‘clerks’ explaining the issues, and doing the work humans could not do. In Augmenting Human Intellect, it was calculations, creating virtual graphs, etc. In Digimon, it was fighting other digital monsters who all had unique attacks and abilities. However, the consistent part among the two concepts is that it was up to the human problem solver to analyze the data and figure out the best solution.

I could name tons of other shows with similar premises but the point I want to drive home is that technology is already augmenting our intellect. In Anisa’s blog she asked whether we should figure out what intelligence is, focus on the augmentation of intellect, or should we even focus on the subjects at all. I think going with the flow is what has gotten us to this point in the first place. With minds pushing to find the extent of their expertise, we accidentally find something that can be utilized in a way that augments our intellect. I believe the television shows provide an over-the-top version of what already exist. Business meetings are full of presentations that outline specific points in a plethora of ways such as text, charts, even virtual replications, and architects use virtual blueprints and simulators to increase their understanding of the tasks ahead of them. So I think we should just keep doing what we are doing, because if it isn’t broken, why try to fix it. These means of augmenting have not reached the level Engelbart describes yet, but with the invention of Google glasses, I don’t think we are far off.

The future of Augmenting Human Intellect…and Pranking people all in one picture.

 

Progress Report 2

I always forget to do these.  Week two gave me some food for thought because I had to teach myself what was obvious from a general perspective. It also made me realize that a good research paper brings more question than answers in the early stages.  With that new knowledge, I hope the list of topics I have come up with will suffice. I have been coming up with obvious things about each of them in an attempt to help guide my research.

Concept Experience #2

This concept is actually very difficult for me. I have never been able to grasp simple concepts because I over think them by my very nature. I have probably spent over 4 hours all together trying to point of the obvious, going so far as to ask help from friends to help me create a list. My friends all found the pointing out the obvious part very easy and were quite amused at my genuine inability to grasp the concept. The only thing that I was able to come up with was, ‘I cannot point out the obvious.’

My list composed by friends, which I refused to use because I am stubborn and wanted to figure out how to do it, included gems like, dirt is dirty,  rees have leaves, cars with no A/C in the summer in Richmond are hot, The Earth is big to a human, The Earth is small to the Sun, 3 is less than 5, and one is the loneliest number.

While watching The Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, because I own the first two seasons and love 90’s nostalgia, I turn to my friend and say “Why are they called power rangers, they aren’t even rangers?! Look at them!” She laughed and told me that was pointing out the obvious. And thus my concept trial was born.

Power Rangers are not Rangers.

Why are Power Rangers not Rangers?

Well,  first what is a Power Ranger?

A power ranger is by the show’s definition a teenager with attitude, then being selected by the ancient space wizard Zordon’s assistant Alpha 5 to battle Rita Repulsa, and other space menaces bent on conquering Earth. They are granted with the power of prehistoric animals, although over the years, they draw power from other powerful things in history like samurais. These powers grant them superpowers to fight evil.

What is a ranger?

Ranger, while there are many definitions to ranger, the most relevant one is a person who has jurisdictions and control over a certain area and is supposed to enforce the rules and protect the life in that area. The most popular example is a park ranger.

So what I basically learned is that although power rangers are superheros in spandex suits and helmets, fighting an evil alien empress to protect earth, they are basically rangers, but their jurisdiction is Earth. This is why they are rangers. They also do promote a lot of recycling and taking care of the Earth. The name is completely justified.

Nugget #2 Man-Computer Symbiosis Revision

“The fig tree is pollinated only by the insect Blastophaga grossorun. The larva of the insect lives in the ovary of the fig tree, and there it gets its food. 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. This cooperative “living together in intimate association, or even close union, of two dissimilar organisms” is called symbiosis [27].

“Man-computer symbiosis is a subclass of man-machine systems. There are many man-machine systems. At present, however, there are no man-computer symbioses. The purposes of this paper are to present the concept and, hopefully, to foster the development of man-computer symbiosis by analyzing some problems of interaction between men and computing machines, calling attention to applicable principles of man-machine engineering, and pointing out a few questions to which research answers are needed. The hope is that, in not too many years, human brains and computing machines will be coupled together very tightly, and that the resulting partnership will think as no human brain has ever thought and process data in a way not approached by the information-handling machines we know today.”

Truthfully, the mechanics of this article often lost me or made me get lost in an imaginary world where people can actually function megazords from Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. However, I think the implications of the first two paragraphs are bigger than most people who read them will consider.

Symbiosis is a fact of life. There are many documented cases of it through the animal kingdom. There is the Egyptian Plover, a bird who’s symbiotic partner in crime is the crocodile. Crocodiles, by the nature of ripping animals to shreds and swallowing  them in huge chunks if not whole, leave a lot of food in their teeth. I imagine it’s quite similar to trying to eat a chicken breast, because I often need to floss pieces of chicken out my mouth afterwards. The Plover is the floss, or toothpick for a crocodile. By picking out the chunks of meat between the crocodiles teeth, it completes it’s diet. The crocodile benefits from the house call dentist, because it keeps the croc’s teeth health and infection free.

Hmm…i think you might have some cavities bud.

Another case is the Pistol Shrimp and the Goby Fish. Pistol Shrimp are pretty much blind, and live in burrows in rocks and sand underwater. Inevitably it has to come out to push the sand, but because it is blind, it is defenseless. That’s where the Goby Fish comes into play. The Goby Fish will block off the burrow and protect the Pistol Shrimp, essentially working as the shrimps eyes. In exchange the Pistol shrimp lets the Goby Fish eat the food it finds while burrowing, allows the fish to store it’s eggs in the burrow, and picks parasites off the fish.

The Pistol Shrimp is holding on to his buddy the Goby Fish, while the fish protects it.

I am even willing to argue that human and pet relationships are symbiotic in nature. A dog gets fed, cleaned, walked, shelter, and a playmate in exchange for being a companion for the human. Most dog owners think of their pets like members of their families, or even their non human babies/kids. In all the above cases, the relationship is mutually beneficial. There is also one big difference when comparing it to Licklider’s article.

Yum!

They are all living creatures! I do not believe there can be symbiosis between man and computer simply because a computer is a machine. There can be little benefit to a machine because a machine  is an inanimate object. Sure keeping your computer free of viruses is taking care of it, but we are more affected by the computer having malware, adware, spyware, or viruses. We suffer because the computer can’t perform the operations we want it to, or we lose valuable information because the spyware records our keystrokes. For man-computer symbiosis to even be a thing, we would need artificial intelligence that simulates human feeling as well, and if we reach that point, well…

We are the superior beings!

Don’t turn around…

Save us Will Smith!! We need you!

On berniers blog ( http://rampages.us/berniers/2014/06/18/man-computer-symbiosis-response/ ) she speaks of her concern of the advancement of technology to the point that they realize they are better than us. This fear is plausible, and I think we are right to wonder. This belief goes back as far as Isaac Asimov’s The Reason from 1941, which is probably better known from it’s inclusion in a collection of short stories aptly named I, Robot.

Vast and Brilliant blog ( http://rampages.us/staycurious/2014/06/17/man-computer-nugget/ ) highlights how oblivious the world is to how much we use technology. I often say the millennial suffer from a lack of critical thinking skills and common sense caused by letting computers do everything from them.

Khoorivcu ( http://rampages.us/khoorivcu/2014/06/17/bman-computer-symbiosisb/ ) makes the point that we need technology in today’s society. I wouldn’t say we need technology as much as it’s cheaper and quicker. The implications however are that we humans are losing jobs to technology and it is making us less patient. Older people love to refer to younger generations as the instant gratification age and it’s true. Technology could kill us through laziness before anything else.

eshunk ( http://rampages.us/eshunk/2014/06/17/11/ ) and I essentially agree that the idea of symbiosis with technology could lead to a very negative area but his immediate thought of cyborg was a great example of man-computer symbiosis done in a good way.

Morgan Thinking Things (http://rampages.us/morganabritt/2014/06/17/nugget-man-computer-symbiosis/) and I agree on one major point. We are NOT ready to be assimilated.

Nugget # 2 Man-Computer Symbiosis

“The fig tree is pollinated only by the insect Blastophaga grossorun. The larva of the insect lives in the ovary of the fig tree, and there it gets its food. 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. This cooperative “living together in intimate association, or even close union, of two dissimilar organisms” is called symbiosis [27].

“Man-computer symbiosis is a subclass of man-machine systems. There are many man-machine systems. At present, however, there are no man-computer symbioses. The purposes of this paper are to present the concept and, hopefully, to foster the development of man-computer symbiosis by analyzing some problems of interaction between men and computing machines, calling attention to applicable principles of man-machine engineering, and pointing out a few questions to which research answers are needed. The hope is that, in not too many years, human brains and computing machines will be coupled together very tightly, and that the resulting partnership will think as no human brain has ever thought and process data in a way not approached by the information-handling machines we know today.”

Truthfully, the mechanics of this article often lost me or made me get lost in an imaginary world where people can actually function megazords from Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. However, I think the implications of the first two paragraphs are bigger than most people who read them will consider.

Symbiosis is a fact of life. There are many documented cases of it through the animal kingdom. There is the Egyptian Plover, a bird who’s symbiotic partner in crime is the crocodile. Crocodiles, by the nature of ripping animals to shreds and swallowing  them in huge chunks if not whole, leave a lot of food in their teeth. I imagine it’s quite similar to trying to eat a chicken breast, because I often need to floss pieces of chicken out my mouth afterwards. The Plover is the floss, or toothpick for a crocodile. By picking out the chunks of meat between the crocodiles teeth, it completes it’s diet. The crocodile benefits from the house call dentist, because it keeps the croc’s teeth health and infection free.

Hmm…i think you might have some cavities bud.

Another case is the Pistol Shrimp and the Goby Fish. Pistol Shrimp are pretty much blind, and live in burrows in rocks and sand underwater. Inevitably it has to come out to push the sand, but because it is blind, it is defenseless. That’s where the Goby Fish comes into play. The Goby Fish will block off the burrow and protect the Pistol Shrimp, essentially working as the shrimps eyes. In exchange the Pistol shrimp lets the Goby Fish eat the food it finds while burrowing, allows the fish to store it’s eggs in the burrow, and picks parasites off the fish.

The Pistol Shrimp is holding on to his buddy the Goby Fish, while the fish protects it.

I am even willing to argue that human and pet relationships are symbiotic in nature. A dog gets fed, cleaned, walked, shelter, and a playmate in exchange for being a companion for the human. Most dog owners think of their pets like members of their families, or even their non human babies/kids. In all the above cases, the relationship is mutually beneficial. There is also one big difference when comparing it to Licklider’s article.

Yum!

They are all living creatures! I do not believe there can be symbiosis between man and computer simply because a computer is a machine. There can be little benefit to a machine because a machine  is an inanimate object. Sure keeping your computer free of viruses is taking care of it, but we are more affected by the computer having malware, adware, spyware, or viruses. We suffer because the computer can’t perform the operations we want it to, or we lose valuable information because the spyware records our keystrokes. For man-computer symbiosis to even be a thing, we would need artificial intelligence that simulates human feeling as well, and if we reach that point, well…

We are the superior beings!

Don’t turn around…

Save us Will Smith!! We need you!

Week One Reflection

Although it comes quite late, better late than never I always say (I am often late due to over-scheduling). I am impressed that I managed to balance my other two summer classes that are ending this week and the blog as well as I did at the beginning, but began to run out of steam by the end of the week. However, I believe excuses are for losers and plan to be fully caught up by the end of tomorrow. I enjoy reading the articles and the blog posting, however my tendency to ignore social media in my normal life has affected my participation on Twitter. As far as the Inquiry Project, I have not narrowed any ideas yet but I am brainstorming constantly. I think everyone’s point of views in responses to my blog and original postings will help me narrow down ideas naturally.

P.s. My twitter name is @waldend200 if you are interested in following me. I plan to use it more.

Concept Experience 1

I love basketball and have been very excited for the NBA Finals Game 4. As such, I decided that this would be a very natural place for me to start and began browsing through Bleacher Report, which is one of my favorite sites. When I looked at the home page, expecting to look for pre-game analysis, I was drawn in by a picture of one of my favorite current players, Kevin Durant. He apparently settled a dispute between rapper, The Game. I perused the article, which spoke of TMZ reporting the dispute before finding out all the details. I generally avoid the gossip TMZ  reports, so hit the back key and decided to read manga instead. This came to mind because most releases are on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, and NBA Finals are Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays. The day after the games, I usually feel the need to splurge on basketball banter. I usually don’t realize what day it is until I start reading about basketball.  I normally read manga to pass the time, so when I was done I was bored. Only when I’m bored do I remember my favorite site to waste time, Cracked.com. The articles I find on Cracked are as random as my thoughts seem to be at times.

Eventually I ended on an article titled “Six Unexpected Things I Learned From Being a Drug Dealer.” Most of the surprises and associations to Bush’s “As We May Think” came from this article, which in itself surprises me. It spoke of things like how we were raised to associate a certain stereotype to drug dealers and how they look and act, or even why they are doing it. What stood out to me the most is how the author said it is this very illusion that we are taught to associate with drugs and drug dealers as young children through programs like D.A.R.E. is what leads some to try it. When propaganda says that all drugs are very harmful and dangerous and will ruin your life, then kids make that association. However, when they grow up and meet someone who does drugs and seems to be functioning in life, the association breaks and due to feeling lied to, the person removes all those associations. For example, if John Doe uses marijuana and gets straight A’s, is it really as dangerous as I think? And if that is a lie, what else did all those anti-drug programs lie about?

I realized that this is not just an issue with stereotypes of drug dealers but the way that association of the mind works. It is forever creating, modifying, and deleting links as new information is processed. When you are a kid, you might associate the opposite sex with cooties. I know I did. At what point did my association change girls from gross, possibly diseased beings to desirable, beautiful beings?  The memex abstract idea Bush speaks of, that models human selection through association seemed even more futuristic, if not impossible than it did when I first considered. From basketball, through Japanese culture in manga to a random article about the realities of drug dealers, there were so many thoughts and trails that I decided not to pursue. I feel as if the human mind might be to abstract to effectively model.

Nugget # 1 – As We May Think

“The real heart of the matter of selection, however, goes deeper than a lag in the adoption of mechanisms by libraries, or a lack of development of devices for their use. Our ineptitude in getting at the record is largely caused by the artificiality of systems of indexing. When data of any sort are placed in storage, they are filed alphabetically or numerically, and information is found (when it is) by tracing it down from subclass to subclass. It can be in only one place, unless duplicates are used; one has to have rules as to which path will locate it, and the rules are cumbersome. Having found one item, moreover, one has to emerge from the system and re-enter on a new path.

The human mind does not work that way. It operates by association. With one item in its grasp, it snaps instantly to the next that is suggested by the association of thoughts, in accordance with some intricate web of trails carried by the cells of the brain. It has other characteristics, of course; trails that are not frequently followed are prone to fade, items are not fully permanent, memory is transitory. Yet the speed of action, the intricacy of trails, the detail of mental pictures, is awe-inspiring beyond all else in nature.”

I like these two paragraphs because he essentially explains my disdain with the traditional style of organization. My father is retired military and requires everything to be organized in some chart or flow from lowest to highest or chronologically. The problem for me was the charts disrupt the way I associate things in my mind, and forces me to adopt an unnatural association as he sees fit. I struggle to understand the ideas or concepts we discuss as efficiently as I would have in my own unique format.The second paragraph actually reminds me of my blog posting on how I feel when I think.

Vannevar Bush states that one of the things holding society from utilizing the wealth of information at our hands is how it is organized. By forcing that unnatural way of association on our thought process is not allowing us to use our mind to our full capacity. I fully agree with that because, as illustrated in my above answer, I struggle to retain information in an organized manner that I could remember for years in my more abstract way of association. Even from the time I was young, my mother would tell me to clean my room so I would be able to find things and I would tell her I find things better in my cluttered room and I can’t find anything when I put them where they say it should go. I suppose Bush sums how I feel very well with his conclusion.

“The applications of science have built man a well-supplied house, and are teaching him to live healthily therein. They have enabled him to throw masses of people against one another with cruel weapons. They may yet allow him truly to encompass the great record and to grow in the wisdom of race experience. He may perish in conflict before he learns to wield that record for his true good. Yet, in the application of science to the needs and desires of man, it would seem to be a singularly unfortunate stage at which to terminate the process, or to lose hope as to the outcome.”

If we cannot move from this unnatural style of organization we might never achieve the ideas he talks about, and reach the potential of humanity as far as the mind goes. The fact that the mind operates at a much faster rate than even the fastest of computers when recalling information, the idea at the vary least warrants consideration.

How I Feel When I Think

How do I feel when I think? This question amuses me because when the question is asked I begin to think of an answer, which makes me wonder if this is how I always feel when I think? There are so many types of thought that I have that one feeling seems much to small to express the gamut of emotions thought can provoke. With one single thought, my mind is attacked. A whirlwind of both related and unrelated thoughts flood my brain in response to the emotions coerced by the thoughts, with each resolved thought leading to another. It’s as if I am falling in a bottomless pit of my own questions and thoughts, sometimes a very dark place. But just as suddenly as the whirlwind threw me into the abyss, I stop falling, because the answers in my brain help me find my way out of the abyss and to the path that leads me to my resolved thought or answer. As my eyes light with excitement, I know this feeling of a resolved thought by one word. Epiphany!

The whirlwind of thoughts in my mind. The colors represent the emotions of each thought
The never-ending abyss of thoughts I am thrown into.