Category Archives: thoughtvectors

Man-Computer Symbiosis ~ Nugget #2


After reading J. C. R. Licklider’s “Man-Computer Symbiosis”, the section that stuck out to me the most was Section 2, Aims of Man-Computer Symbiosis. The second paragraph states:

“However, many problems that can be thought through in advance are very difficult to think through in advance. They would be easier to solve, and they could be solved faster, through an intuitively guided trial-and-error procedure in which the computer cooperated, turning up flaws in the reasoning or revealing unexpected turns in the solution. Other problems simply cannot be formulated without computing-machine aid. Poincare anticipated the frustration of an important group of would-be computer users when he said, “The question is not, ‘What is the answer?’ The question is, ‘What is the question?'” One of the main aims of man-computer symbiosis is to bring the computing machine effectively into the formulative parts of technical problems.”


One of the main things in life is that we have a choice, and we have to deal with the consequences of our actions. That is something that every living thing has to deal with. How he talks about man-computer symbiotic relationships, he makes it seems like he wants to eliminate consequences entirely. that’s how I see it at least.

By having a computer be able to think through every possible outcome so it can choose the best one defeats the purpose of dealing with your actions. You make a choice, and whether it was a good or bad decision, it is your decision to live with and that you made not knowing what would happen. But having a computer as part of you to make these decisions so that they would benefit you 100% of the time, is not how life should work.

In my mind, computers would base all of their analyzing and decisions off of logic without considering other factors, like feelings and relationships. You choose things because you feel strongly one way or the other and computers would take that step completely out of the process.

computer man


I wanted to find some recent articles about advanments in this field and I found DNA Transistors Pave Way For Living Computers. It is sinteresting to see that some sort of man-computer technology has come about. How I interpreted Licklider’s essay was that he wanted a human to have some sort of computer in them, but this essay is about how they made a living computer using living cells. Researchers built the first biological analogue of the transistor.

A transistor is a device that switches signals and convers input signals to output signals. By combining these transistors, in the future they should be able to build living technologies.

Another nugget from the passage that I thought was very interesting was:

“3) Automatic Speech Production and Recognition: How desirable and how feasible is speech communication between human operators and computing machines? That compound question is asked whenever sophisticated data-processing systems are discussed. Engineers who work and live with computers take a conservative attitude toward the desirability. Engineers who have had experience in the field of automatic speech recognition take a conservative attitude toward the feasibility. Yet there is continuing interest in the idea of talking with computing machines. In large part, the interest stems from realization that one can hardly take a military commander or a corporation president away from his work to teach him to type. If computing machines are ever to be used directly by top-level decision makers, it may be worthwhile to provide communication via the most natural means, even at considerable cost.”

This has come about in most computers and all smartphones. Programs, such as Siri, can be used to help us find out answers to questions, and even type for us. I know my mom uses her speech recognition software on her phone to type texts because she can’t see her screen very well.

Siri is very useful in finding out really anything you want. You talk to Siri, and it will either find what you are looking for, or ask you more questions to narrow your search. I use it a lot for finding addresses and setting reminders. This is one man-computer technology I am very happy about.


Inquiry Project ~ Week #1

I am obsessed with Instagram. Instagram is my absolute favorite social media application. I can sit on it for hours, just looking at my friends pictures, and then somehow getting to a random persons profile, and then another, and this will continue until I am looking through someone’s random pictures. I won’t remember how I got there but I will just starting clicking on random tags or locations or people, and I will stay entertained.

The thing that I love about Instagram is that you can follow whoever you want. Everyone has an account such as stores, restaurants, celebrities, towns, and any other place or person you could think of. It is a good way to advertise and promote business as well as keeping people in the loop of what is going on in your life.  You can enter a contest, or reconnect with an old friend. There are no limits to what you can do on this mobile app.

The majority of people I know have an Instagram. I follow all of my friends and a bunch of stores and celebrities. As a theatre major I love to follow plays and musicals that are currently running on Broadway. I can get an inside scoop to what is going on behind the scenes.


With how many different users are on this form of social media, you can look at so many different pictures from all over the world. I love seeing my friends in different places all over the globe. They share their pictures, tag where they are, and I can click on the tag and see pictures from thousands of different people in that same place in the world.  For example, my friend went to the Maldives over summer and they tagged themselves at a certain beach. I could then see everyone else’s pictures that have happened their and it was amazing to see how many people from all over the world have been in that exact same place.

Another thing that attracts me to Instagram more than any other social media network is that you can post what you want and edit it how you want and tag who you want.


Everything is completely up to you. On Twitter you have to click a bunch of things to get to see a picture or, you have to tweet twelve different times to get your entire thought out. Or you can make the awful choice of spelling like you are completely illiterate to get your thought out in under 140 characters. On Facebook it’s just completely too complicated and there are way to many options and it is just confusing. Too much in one little space. Instagram has what you want when you want on all your mobile app, and with the new online version.

After reading some of my classmates posts, where they also chose Instagram as their media of choice, I saw that we all liked it for different things. Imelda.jurasova  talks about how she uses the app to help promote herself as a makeup artist. It is a great way to advertise and spread the word about a wonderful thing. Living the Dream Univ 200 talks about how they use it to stay connected with friends that they haven’t and won’t see in a long time in their blog post, just like I do. Instagram has tons of uses, and plenty more than I haven’t named here.

PS. Clink on the links to read funny stories and see cool things that come along with being an Instagram user!

As We May Think ~ Nugget #1

The Nugget that I chose from Vannevar Bush’s Essay connects to my first blog post about how we feel when we think.

“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.”

He basically is stating that one thought leads to another. They quickly go from one to another in a trail of ideas. You don’t always remember where you started or how you got there, but the final outcome is there in your mind. Everything will jumble up together into a ball of paths of paths that lead you to your current thought. Resembling a tangled ball of yarn, you will be able to find the end, but trying to find where it comes from will be impossible.

He goes on to say:

“There is, of course, provision for consultation of the record by the usual scheme of indexing. If the user wishes to consult a certain book, he taps its code on the keyboard, and the title page of the book promptly appears before him, projected onto one of his viewing positions. Frequently-used codes are mnemonic, so that he seldom consults his code book; but when he does, a single tap of a key projects it for his use. Moreover, he has supplemental levers. On deflecting one of these levers to the right he runs through the book before him, each page in turn being projected at a speed which just allows a recognizing glance at each. If he deflects it further to the right, he steps through the book 10 pages at a time; still further at 100 pages at a time. Deflection to the left gives him the same control backwards.”

How he talks about indexing is how I think about memories. You see something or hear something, or even smell something, and it takes you back to a time in place. Those senses that remind you of the past are kind of like the codes he discusses that take you to what you are looking for. You won’t remember where that memory is or where you can find it in your mind to recall it back to you, but once you get some sort of reminder or “code” it all comes rushing back.