Nugget #3

“Although the size of the step a human being can take in comprehension, innovation, or execution is small in comparison to the over-all size of the step needed to solve a complex problem, human beings nevertheless do solve complex problems. It is the augmentation means that serve to break down a large problem in such a way that the human being can walk through it with his little steps, and it is the structure or organization of these little steps or actions that we discuss as process hierarchies.”

This paragraph, and also the two that followed it (which further described sub-processes as processes in and of themselves) really stuck with me. It speaks to the way in which learning and the acquisition of new skills and the mastery of new technologies is compounded both on the individual and the societal level. Though breakthroughs and completed projects appear to an observer as a sudden exponential acquisition of knowledge, these strides are the offspring of a long grueling lineage of learning, practice, and sturdy foundations of knowledge graciously built by the culture and minds of past innovators.

People tend to forget that all problem-solving is actually a drawn-out and nuanced process, catalysed by access to fertile resources, and nurtured by consistency, not the result of inspiration alone. The things that the mind is able to accomplish are really incredible, and when one actually takes the time to consider the breakdown of every skill mastered, every technological advancement, or every subject learned, it’s very humbling and amazing. This got me thinking about online games, namely indie games that imitate life to an absurd degree. One such a game, linked here casts the player as a track star running a race. The keys on the keyboard control the thigh and calve muscles of each leg respectively, so good luck trying to figure that out!! Even something physical like running or walking is actually quite a feat of engineering on the part of biology, and I thought it was pretty hilarious and poignant how this game allows the user to revel in the greatness of the human body, and does so by absolutely over-the-top technological means (therefore celebrating the human mind as well, seeing as the developer is so fluent in coding that they were able to create such a novel game in their leisure).

EDIT

Sara and I were really on the same wavelength in our nuggets. The primary deviation in our thoughts is that she maintained her focus on the building up of technologies and thoughts, while I also mentioned learning on a physical level (such as conditioning, dancing, ect.). She also mentioned games, while the ones that she referenced serve the purpose of engaging the brain and sharpening it, and the one I linked to serves merely as an example of and commentary on the process of learning on an individual and societal level. I was really intrigued by her application of the understanding of learning to “rehabilitating” an overworked or underworked brain, that thought was super interesting and not something I’d considered.

I also really enjoyed reading Linai’s nugget, which spoke extensively about how talent, inspiration, or genius alone are not what lead to advancements and new ideas. I tried to mention this concept in my nugget, but they did a way better job than I. Linking this back to Hip-Hop culture in particular was a great example, and it got me thinking of how music in particular is a sector of culture wherein innovation is directly related to what is happening and has already occurred. Whether by combining, reviving, or retaliating against other musical styles and trends, musicians are in conversation with one another through their creation. House wouldn’t have been developed without disco and gospel, and Bounce is rooted in a musical tradition unique to New Orleans.

I thought it was really interesting how the macandersonaj blog interpreted what is essentially the same section that I addressed in my nugget. They applied this section to the act of conscious thinking and problem-solving, stating that it is a call for humans to adapt a more mechanical thought-process reminiscent of computers (as opposed to our naturally nonlinear process). This was interesting because I had emphasised this breakdown of processes as it applies to learning, and I hardly considered it in reference to the utilization of information that has already been learned.

One thought on “Nugget #3

  1. Pingback: Nugget #3: Augmenting Human Intellect | morganneperez

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