“In one sense of course, any man-made system is intended to help man, to help a man or men outside the system. If we focus upon the human operator within the system, however, we see that, in some areas of technology, a fantastic change has taken place during the last few years. “Mechanical extension” has given way to replacement of men, to automation, and the men who remain are there more to help than to be helped. In some instances, particularly in large computer-centered information and control systems, the human operators are responsible mainly for functions that it proved infeasible to automate. Such systems (“humanly extended machines,” North might call them) are not symbiotic systems. They are “semi-automatic” systems, systems that started out to be fully automatic but fell short of the goal.”



It is a fact that technology has innovated all industries in the world, and continuing to do so. It make’s our jobs much easier, giving us more time and freedom to do other things, which overall gives us a better product or service. The rate that our technology is growing is extremely rapid, and hard to predict how the future will look like. As technology advances, we are starting to replace workers with computers. This was very common last century, when workers in factories got laid off because some machine can do their job faster and cheaper. Overall, technology gives us more opportunity to create new jobs for the future.

Reading some of the other students post on this nugget, I would have to say we all agree that technology is taking over our lives. Humans like to live life a way were we make a comfort zone for ourselves, and decide to do things in a habit; which technology is our addiction. We are constantly looking to upgrade our possessions to the newest things. We are too focused on materialistic “things” were we never focus on ourselves, and growing as a human being. Maybe there is a reason why depression is increasing each her, and why divorce rates are about 50% of all marriages in America.  We are too focused and distracted by technology that we loose ourselves in it.

I am not saying technol

ogy is bad and we should stop trying to expand it. But instead understand how to use technology as a tool and in moderation. We lack face to face conversations every day due to cell phones or instant messaging. Not only are we using technology a lot, but it is taking over our lives, and only someone in denial would argue against that.


6 thoughts on “Nugget #2: MAN-COMPUTER SYMBIOSIS 2.0”

  1. I agree with aspects of this nugget; there is a necessity, which is coming to the attention of parents, students, and teachers, that technology should be used in moderation. However, as difficult as it may be, we can expand technology and use it in moderation. The problem of being “too focused on materialistic ‘things'” is not entirely due technology; truly, the problem is, in part, the lack of self-control, discipline, and appreciation within the individual. An individual could strive for more in his or her life, and whether or not they should depends on how satisfied they are with their life, and how well they know themselves; Buddhist monks who lack materialistic possessions do not merely seek isolation from the modern world, rather they also begin an investigation on materialism within their own lives.
    Nevertheless, technology should be used in moderation, with the individual, after realizing the effects of materialism on their his or her respective life, moderating his or her use of technology.

    1. These are excellent points that lead to an even deeper set of questions. What exactly is “technology”? We usually mean “computers” or “the internet,” but think of how many other things could fall into this category. Eyeglasses. Shoes. Clothing. Bridges. Windows. The list goes on. Think about electricity. We are utterly dependent on electricity in contemporary life. This is a frightening thought, in some respects, but what then? Do we try to live non-electric lives? Should hospitals go back to pre-electric services only? Pre-anaesthesia? (Anaesthesia is another technology.)

      These are questions worth pondering. Computers make them even more vivid, but in many respects, these are not new questions. Take a look at this video from the 1970s, for example.

    2. You raise a key point: at least at this point, it is the disposition and meaning-making of the human agent him- or herself that will be decisive in the question of technological influence.

  2. “Not only are we using technology a lot, but it is taking over our lives, and only someone in denial would argue against that.” Then label me a denier!

    We use technology a lot-yes. Does that mean it is taking over our lives? I don’t think so. I think it supplements our lives. I can text a friend to get together, and we can hang out on very short notice. I think this sort of thing actually increases my face-to-face interactions with people.
    I’m not sure you can connect such vast and complex issues such as depression and divorce with increasing technology use and call it a day. In my experience, I have been able to use technology to keep in touch with people who are far away, which means that long distance marriages are more sustainable! But those would definitely be interesting things to research, if you think there is a connection!

  3. When discussing about technology, we all agree that it should be used in moderation, but what is it that’s not allowing us to use it in such manner?

  4. One more thought: automation is opposed to “augmentation” and even to “symbiosis.” It’s interesting that Licklider believes that man-computer symbiosis will last only as long as it takes to build artificially intelligent machines. Your discussion of “mechanical extensions” usefully helps us understand this rather subtle (and disturbing) aspect of Licklider’s argument.

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