Nugget #2 “Man-Computer Symbiosis”

Nugget #2 “Man-Computer Symbiosis”

“5 Prerequisites for Realization of Man-Computer Symbiosis… 5.1 Speed Mismatch Between Men and Computers

Any present-day large-scale computer is too fast and too costly for real-time cooperative thinking with one man. Clearly, for the sake of efficiency and economy, the computer must divide its time among many users. Timesharing systems are currently under active development. There are even arrangements to keep users from “clobbering” anything but their own personal programs….

5.2 Memory Hardware Requirements

When we start to think of storing any appreciable fraction of a technical literature in computer memory, we run into billions of bits and, unless things change markedly, billions of dollars….

5.3 Memory Organization Requirements

Implicit in the idea of man-computer symbiosis are the requirements that information be retrievable both by name and by pattern and that it be accessible through procedure much faster than serial search. At least half of the problem of memory organization appears to reside in the storage procedure. Most of the remainder seems to be wrapped up in the problem of pattern recognition within the storage mechanism or medium. Detailed discussion of these problems is beyond the present scope. However, a brief outline of one promising idea, “trie memory,” may serve to indicate the general nature of anticipated developments…

5.4 The Language Problem

The basic dissimilarity between human languages and computer languages may be the most serious obstacle to true symbiosis. It is reassuring, however, to note what great strides have already been made, through interpretive programs and particularly through assembly or compiling programs such as FORTRAN, to adapt computers to human language forms. The “Information Processing Language” of Shaw, Newell, Simon, and Ellis [24] represents another line of rapprochement. And, in ALGOL and related systems, men are proving their flexibility by adopting standard formulas of representation and expression that are readily translatable into machine language…

5.5 Input and Output Equipment

The department of data processing that seems least advanced, in so far as the requirements of man-computer symbiosis are concerned, is the one that deals with input and output equipment or, as it is seen from the human operator’s point of view, displays and controls. Immediately after saying that, it is essential to make qualifying comments, because the engineering of equipment for high-speed introduction and extraction of information has been excellent, and because some very sophisticated display and control techniques have been developed in such research laboratories as the Lincoln Laboratory. By and large, in generally available computers, however, there is almost no provision for any more effective, immediate man-machine communication than can be achieved with an electric typewriter.”

I would like to start off with how this entire man-computer symbiosis reminds me of the movie, Blade Runner. It is based off of the book, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep. The entire idea is an amazing advancement in technology. I do not doubt the possibility of the symbiosis happening at all. I do know I will be amazed when I see it though. In, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, the author predicted future inventions like the vidphone that is known as today’s Skype and facetime. I talked about this in my previous nugget. This level of artificial intelligence in the process of being developed makes me think about the robots and technology in the novel. It is so advanced that I could not imagine seeing it today. When Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, came out, people thought a vidphone was a crazy idea. Now it is used every day today. This is why I think the man-computer symbiosis is so incredible. I know it will be real soon enough. I know this was written a long time ago and that technology has advanced so much since the time of this journal by Licklider. We are so much closer to achieving the technology he is speaking of. Below is a video of a scene in Blade Runner using a sort of voice activated technology which reminds me of the man-computer symbiosis.

I found a lot interesting with the 5 problems between men and computers, but what stood out to me the most was the language barrier. I feel like I face that problem all the time with my own computer. Coding or just trying to install something simple, I do not know what half the things on my computer screen mean. In my first nugget I focused on language as well and how I believe one day everyone will speak the same language. This makes me believe it even more now. If it is important to have no language barrier for technology to function well, then I am positive people will put in the effort to get rid of the language barrier.

Today Siri and Android phones can work with our voices to show us what we want, but it is not nearly as advanced as what Licklider is talking about in this journal. I understand from this passage that he wants the computer to work equally as well as the human brain, if not even better. He says if the computer cannot be as fast as we are it will not work well. Thinking about this amazes me because I cannot imaging what the world will be like if this technology is accomplished. Will people become so dependent on computers to do all of the thinking or will this help the world continue to advance? It is a scary thought to be honest but I am hoping for the second scenario.

I read some of my classmates nuggets and I enjoyed seeing what stuck out to them from “Man-Computer Symbiosis”

Mahsa focused on how Licklider talked about how most of his time is spent preparing himself to think. I find this funny because I feel like I have to do the same thing. Not like Licklider, but I like to put on some relaxing music, make sure everything is clean, fluff up my pillows then I finally hop on my bed and get to work. It is nice to know that I am not the only one that takes two hours to do 30 minutes of work. Mahsa seems to have the same connection as I do to this passage.

Sarah Anderson talks about how Licklider wants us to be able to work along with computers so that together we can be more productive than ever. She says, “I’m sure Licklider was assuming that the more thinking our computers could do, the more thinking we would do alongside it”.

This classmate talks about how computers have helped him get work done faster and how much easier it is with computers. The passage he chose focused a lot on how computers are good for focusing on the technical things that take a long time for people to do.

Wuddy chose a passage that kind of relates back to Mahsa’s. It talks about how he finds himself spending a lot of time calculating when it would be better for the computer to do that work.

William’s post was very visually pleasing in my opinion so it really drew me in to see what he chose to write about. He focused on how what Licklider was saying is a lot like today Internet. I kind of disagree with this because I think Licklider’s ideas are bigger than the Internet. Other than that I can see what William is talking about.

After reading my classmates nuggets, I have realized even a paper as literal as Licklider’s can be taken in many different ways. His ideas translate differently in other peoples minds. Maybe if everyone combined their ideas we would end up with something cooler than what Licklider is talking about!


2 thoughts on “Nugget #2 “Man-Computer Symbiosis””

  1. I never really thought about how each of us would think about the article differently. When you pointed this out at the end i thought about which passage you picked which is similar to mine and you focused on it as well but from the voice perspective and not from a programming point of view

  2. Maryam–
    Good job! This is a very thorough post and a good model for others who are having trouble expanding their ideas. I like the way you link to other posts written by your peers; but keep in mind that the next step is to really synthesize their comments. Not just here is what Alice said and here is what Joe said and here is what Jenny said–but what connections (or differences) can you find in how they think and how you think about this topic? Know what I mean?

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