When I was about to start my primary text about a bland, scientific research topic I realized our subject matter was supposed to be digital. Instead of writing and researching about nuclear fusion reactors, blah, blah.. I decided to look into the Youtube channel I’ve been watching religiously over the past few months, Vice.. more specifically Vice News.
Vice is a very popular global media outlet, but they are much more than just that. World news, documentaries, interviews, short stories and investigations are all included on their channel. These videos are all done by a crop of unique reporters who, for the most part, are in field, whether it be an active war zone or hitchhiking across China.
Vice is important because it gives news a new approach with more detailed, and a more “up close and personal” vibe as you view the reporters follow their stories.
An excerpt from Engelbart’s “Augmenting Human Intellect: A Conceptual Framework” talks about how there is now too much information in the air to be absorbed.
“So much for the manipulation of ideas and their insertion into the record. Thus far we seem to be worse off than before–for we can enormously extend the record; yet even in its present bulk we can hardly consult it. This is a much larger matter than merely the extraction of data for the purposes of scientific research; it involves the entire process by which man profits by his inheritance of acquired knowledge The prime action of use is selection, and here we are halting indeed.”
This peaked my interest because it’s ironic how the availability of knowledge is working against the idea of a “renaissance man” or someone who can be masterfully knowledgeable in many subjects. As our record of information grows, the average human understanding of any subject shrinks in proportion to what is known.
Thus far I can tell there is a theme going along with the readings we’ve had. That theme goes along the lines of: predicted technological advancement and it’s growing role in our lives may be detrimental to our ability to function alone, but also advance our capabilities with reliance on technology. Obviously it is also reasoned that these are good and bad things, as is shown in many student posts:
When asked to use our computers to analyze and expand on a question you may again hear from a toddler in the near future: “Why do trees go up?” My group entered in the phrase into google. After finding relevant data, we then created a new question from this data, rinsed and repeated until we had a question of the 9th grade level.
Our interaction with the computer itself was merely a tool to user interaction. I did not see much more to it than that. However, you could argue that the parameters of our tool (google) may have had some sway on the outcome of our questions.
While reading “Man-Computer Symbiosis” I looked for an area discussing the integration of technology into symbiotic relationship with man. Foreshadowing to the the inevitable time when the capabilities of machine match that of man.
“The capabilities of machines in this class are increasing almost daily. It is therefore hazardous to make general statements about capabilities of the 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.”
What is important to this statement is the word “symbiosis” referring to an existing two organisms or sentient beings. As we are decoding the human brain and its chemical mixtures faster than we are gathering an understanding of what they do. We are also have the ability to emulate these chemical echanges with technology. Humans will have the ability to emulate a human brane with technology before we have gain complete knowledge of the brain itself.
Topics like this have moved from science fiction books, like “The Singularity Is Near” by Ray Kurzweil, to real world examples of artificial intelligence. We are many years off from a singularity like occurrence, where technological and human intelligence compete. If that were to happen, wouldn’t it be frightening to think of the outcomes? *cough cough* Matrix
While looking through post from my classmates and peers I found two posts. In the first, by Jayden, the rapid advancement in technology is discussed and the second, by Kessingerrg, where the impact of such technology are evaluated. Jayden leaves on a cheerful note as Kessingerrg seems to be more wary of what this technology is doing to us. It is undeniable that technology has changed the individual in terms of day to day life, but is it true that technology has altered us as a species? Is it not human nature to crave advancement, creation and innovation, as history has shown for millennia?