Reflection post

Honestly, if we hadn’t done so many discussions in class about technology and it’s effect on society prior to this project, I probably would have focused in on something negative. In fact, I was planning on doing so until I realized in class the other day that it didn’t have to be directly about technology. That combined with how recently in a couple of my past blog posts, I’ve been realizing that I have swayed somewhat in my views toward technology, has led me to pick a topic that may shed a more positive light on how advances in technology are changing our lives.

This is what I love about your class. 1. We don’t just give up on a topic, it resurfaces constantly and we continue to look at in new ways. 2. We get the opportunity to hear what others are thinking about these topics. Simply being able to listen to someone else’s thought process often strikes a whole new one of my own.

THIS blog’s topic is nowhere similar to mine, but it is parallel in how is states that one day television might be obsolete due to netflix and youtube taking over. In my topic, I’m talking about how direct deposits, online donations, and pictures of checks easily replace cash and actual checks and how this makes a non-profit’s work easier.

THIS blog points out all the different ways technology is dominating the world other than just the initial ways we think of. “…such as healthcare, environmentally, socially, ethically, and many more. ” I think my topic falls under one of the categories she has pointed out, if not under many more.

 

Primary text at present

After learning this past class that what we study does not need to directly be something internet related, I’ve decided to change my focus.  I want to learn more on how social media and use of technology benefits non-profits. I do a lot of work for non-profits and I am actually currently the PR coordinator of VCU’s chapter of Camp Kesem, a nationwide nonprofit. Holding this position, I’ve realized just how useful access to social media really can be. I don’t personally use it a whole lot myself, but as an organization, it allows us to promote fundraisers and reach a wider variety of donors.  I can’t imagine if we had to send our monthly newsletter out in the mail or if we had to wait on all our donations to come via check rather than direct deposit online. I also feel that how most non-profts include statements of where the money goes online assists greatly because those interested can easily access this at the touch of a finger and understand where their money goes. How would lack of technology and social media impede the growth of a non-profit? I would like to compare and contrast how things were done before and how they are done now and in turn how this has affected the nonprofit.

This is the link to my own website for Camp Kesem at VCU. I don’t plan on necessarily  doing much investigation on our own chapter because we are only a few years old, but it’s a good idea where to start. I might do some research on other chapters who have been around longer or another non-profit, even.

 

Connecting the dots (or blogs)

I appriciated what this blog mentioned about how it was neat to see how similar we are to one another when comparing thoughts and ideas about the same things. I also find that very beneficial as well as reassuring. ” Hey, I’m not crazy for thinking this..others agree.”

Then, in this blog, I found myself agreeing with some of the points they had compiled–the part of the post where they pasted the actual activity. One nugget in particular stuck out to me which was talking about how easily we have access to technology but whether this was truly benefitting us intelligently. I’ve been mulling over this as well and I think I wrote something very similar myself actually. This is the perfect instance of seeing a peer’s thought and instantly connecting with it. It’s not just in person in our class– I am now finding myself connecting with the thoughts of people in other classes too.

Lastly, this post struck me in how it brought up the idea that thinking doesn’t necessarily equate a certain feeling. I had been under the impression of thinking results in connection. Thinking makes us more intelligent. Thinking allows us to feel as if we grow. To consider thinking doesn’t do anything but actually make us think was something new for me.

 

Blogging about our blogs

Below is what my group has complied so far from our respective blogs. I’m so glad we did this activity in class because I know if I had done it alone I would have been very very confused. When reading back initially,  I was baffled by some of my own thoughts. I couldn’t figure out where a couple of my ideas had stemmed from and it was also strange for me to realize that depending on the context, my opinions did sway a bit. Being in the classroom setting and witnessing other peers also experiencing these feelings reassured me, though.

I think what was really interesting about this particular activity was it not only allowed us to attempt linking thoughts and ideas from different nuggets, blurbs and articles but it gave us the opportunity to take a glance back on our own thoughts and see how they may be linked. I don’t always stop to reconsider my own thought process or the path that led me from one view/idea to another, but going back to the very beginning of my ideas allowed me to do so.

“He has built a civilization so complex that he needs to mechanize his records more fully if he is to push his experiment to its logical conclusion and not merely become bogged down part way there by overtaxing his limited memory.” Bush

 

“Just like a computer has an external hard drive to hold all of the material that it does not require at the moment, so would we, as Bush claims that our lives would be better if we had the “privilege of forgetting.”” Loren

 

“It takes away some of the excitement from something that may actually be really thrilling to learn in person when you’ve already seen it posted on snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Pintrest within 15 minutes of it happening.” Morgan

 

“The Internet gives me the control to pick and choose what I want to further search into and what I choose to ignore. Our minds have the ability to do the same by selectively choosing what we keep at the forefront of our brains and what we let loiter in the background. “ Loren

 

“ Having a keyboard that will take care of even the “tone” of our messages brings that even one step further-potentially resulting in us losing that ability to vocalize all together. We are not learning, we are losing.” Morgan

 

“The hope is that, in not too many years, human brains and computing machines will be coupled together very tightly, and that the resulting partnership will think as no human brain has ever thought and process data in a way not approached by the information-handling machines we know today.” Licklider

 

“Preliminary analyses indicate that the symbiotic partnership (between man and computer)  will perform intellectual operations much more effectively than man alone can perform them. “ Licklider

 

In Bush’s article, almost 20 years prior to Licklider’s, he describes his hope for the reality that Vannevar is creating. Loren

 

“Man’s population and gross product are increasing at a considerable rate, but the complexity of his problems grows still faster, and the urgency with which solutions must be found becomes steadily greater in response to the increased rate of activity and the increasingly global nature of that activity.” Engelbart

“Preliminary analyses indicate that the symbiotic partnership will perform intellectual operations much more effectively than man alone can perform them.” Licklider

 

According to both authors, humans would be improved immensely if we had the computer-like ability to receive information, filter what is needed presently and what could be stored for when it could come of use, and choose when to apply the knowledge. Loren

 

The web guided us through the trail from our first search, and traced our steps in my computer’s history. When we started our search we did not know where we would end up, but kept following the trail that Google was leading that resulted in questions that require amounts of research. Loren

 

“Sure, we can do these accomplish tasks faster and more efficiently using them, but does that necessarily mean we are more effective with technology’s assistance than alone? Technology glitches, and being able to confirm directions mentally would be a surefire check for this. It seems as if it is a cycle to me though, because now we have lost the ability to be effective alone.” -Morgan

 

Both Engelbart and Bush are essentially making a similar claim that as our population grows, our problems become more complicated and we need to find solutions more quickly and with greater necessity. Once we are able to increase our intellectual capabilities, we can become a more advanced society. Loren

 

Our limited memory that Bush talks about conflicts with society’s growing problems that Engelbart expresses concern for. Engelbart claims that the problems that we encounter are increasing in difficulty and decreasing in the amount of time that we need to solve them.  Loren
“Technology alone isn’t intelligent. We as people use it to make whatever we need to do easier, quicker, whatever… it allows us to google something instantly instead of racking our brain for the answer. We will remember what we found, and we gain that knowledge from that point on. So sure, that qualifies as amplifying our own intelligence. It requires intelligence to use, and we gain intelligence from doing so.” -Morgan

 

Nugget of interest

“It has been jokingly suggested several times during the course of this study that what we are seeking is an “intelligence amplifier.” (The term is attributed originally to W. Ross Ashby (2, 3). At first this term was rejected on the grounds that in our view one’s only hope was to make a better match between existing human intelligence and the problems to be tackled, rather than in making man more intelligent. But deriving the concepts brought out in the preceding section has shown us that indeed this term does seem applicable to our objective.”

This little blurb caught my eye because initially the concept of “intelligence amplifier” was considered a joke.  Before reading  further and seeing that later it was accepted, I was confused as to why it would be considered anything less than accurate. Technology alone isn’t intelligent. We as people use it to make whatever we need to do easier, quicker, whatever… it allows us to google something instantly instead of racking our brain for the answer. We will remember what we found, and we gain that knowledge from that point on. So sure, that qualifies as amplifying our own intelligence. It requires intelligence to use, and we gain intelligence from doing so. As  I read on  though, I started to re- consider. I begun to realize this opinion I have on this particular blurb is a bit different than what I’ve written before-how I think that  Maybe they were right when initially disregarding this title. Is that really amplifying our intelligence or is it just tackling the problems, allowing us to become reliant on something to help us accomplish this.

The more I consider this, it is increasingly difficult for me to distinguish where I stand. My past couple nuggets I have focused in on how I feel often times people use technology unnecessarily and excessively. Here I seem to be saying maybe it is a good thing, maybe it really does amplify our intelligence. It’s hard for me to say. It also makes me wonder what was different about this blurb that made me kind of switch sides. Maybe it was the fact that they had to reconsider where they stood as well.

 

Reflection Post

I am really enjoying this class so far. I am not super technology-savvy myself so it’s been nice to play around with thought vectors as well as  rampages to familiarize myself how to better use them. I really appreciate how our topics are things that are very relatable and while learning about them, we also learn a bit about ourselves.  Often times when I respond in class, I respond in a way I have come up with because I can relate to it personally and by coming up with that answer, I was essentially forced to self-reflect. This is something we too often just skip over doing and I think it’s wonderful how much of an opportunity we have to do so in this class.

Also,  even though I feel I am not very good with the usage of technology, I recognize I will be using it for years to come. It’s especially interesting for me seeing I don’t use many apps or social media sites to still see how dependent we are becoming on it and to consider the role it plays in our lives, my own included.

Two blog posts I agree with:

http://rampages.us/kenna/2015/09/08/progress-report/ (No wrong answer policy-I love this because it makes it so much easier to share our thoughts in class)

https://allysonbiersack.wordpress.com/2015/09/07/progress-report/ (The fact that you allow us to “marinate” on the answers we come up with, as she put it. This goes along with what I was attempting to get at-that when we go over topics in class, we also are able to learn about ourselves through reflecting and consider how all this relates  to us personally. It’s not like everything is such a set answer. You allow things to be fluid so there is room for growth and new ideas and I like that.)

 

In class activity

I honestly was a bit confused doing the activity with my respective group, but it became much more clear when we got together as entire class to discuss. The most interesting part of the in class activity to me was listening to  all the different groups share their trails of a simple statement leading into a bunch of other thoughts, questions and statements. It was intriguing to hear exactly what stemmed out of each chosen question because everyone’s thought process is so different. It makes me wonder if each group were asked afterwards to take another group’s chosen statement and then we were asked to share for a second round , would thoughts stemming off of it be entirely different?

 

Nugget from Man-Computer Symbiosis

“Computing machines will do the routinizable work that must be done to prepare the way for insights and decisions in technical and scientific thinking. Preliminary analyses indicate that the symbiotic partnership will perform intellectual operations much more effectively than man alone can perform them.”- third to last sentence in first paragraph.

It’s striking to me because this was written in 1960 and yet much of what it predicted has become reality now.  Is it all entirely accurate though?  Looking at “symbiotic partnership will perform intellectual operations much more effectively than man alone can perform them” really makes me question this. Even just take for instance a calculator and GPS built in on our phone. Sure, we can do these accomplish tasks faster and more efficiently using them, but does that necessarily mean we are more effective with techonolgy’s assistance than alone? Technology glitches, and being able to confirm directions mentally would be a surefire check for this. It seems as if it is a cycle to me though, because now we have lost the ability to be effective alone.

 

 

Edit: I’ve linked to this two classmates’ posts which I found very interesting and led me to new thought processes.

Blog1 -which allowed me to see that perhaps by allowing man and computers to work together, this becomes a learning process of it’s own. Personally though, I am not sure how much I feel of our relationship with computers is in cooperation rather than reliance.

blog2– References a similar concept, article predicting technology’s growth written 70 years ago. A statement this author made really resonated with me: “However, the question of whether these functions have genuinely improved our everyday lives or just simply altered them.”

 

Something I never considered

It really surprised me seeing others’ thought processes about technology. Some I found coincided with my own beliefs, and others led me to rethink those beliefs. Two in particular stick out in my mind, one that looks at a psychological view of how technology affects us. This one, I feel, is most similar to my own feelings, stating that it ultimately results in us being stressed out, etc.  All technology has done to us as humans is overload us with information. The other however, had a completely opposing statement. It suggested that without technology, we would never have been able to evolve as much as we have thus so far as a species.  I guess this is something I have never considered. Obviously, a world without so much technology would be very different, but do we really owe our growth both as individuals and as a whole species to it’s existence?

Really something to think about.