Augmenting Human Intellect – Nugget

Although every sub-process is a process in its own right, in that it consists of further sub-processes, there seems to be no point here in looking for the ultimate bottom of the process-hierarchical structure. There seems to be no way of telling whether or not the apparent bottoms (processes that cannot be further subdivided) exist in the physical world or in the limitations of human understanding.

-Doug Engelbart

Above is a quoted passage from the article that I found to be very interesting. In this article, it is suggested that intelligence is not limited and to improve human intelligence in order to understand and solve problems in a better and faster way, we must understand the framework or “processes” that build our knowledge.  Each process is considered a sub-process to another, where all of these processes are interrelated and interdependent with one another. I visualized the domino effect, where “A” effects “B”. “B” effects “C”, so on and so forth.

What is very compelling is to wonder how far we can go in dissecting problems to their core and whether or not it is inevitably in our fate that we cannot unravel all of the world’s mysteries. Surely, we strive to make new and efficient progresses as we transition from one era of human intelligence to another. The essence of human existence is that we are in a race to improve. But with whom is the race? The natural world?

 

*******EDIT*******

I found that many people had in common the excerpt they chose to base their nugget on. This excerpt: “Man’s population and gross product are increasing…in response to the increased rate of activity and the increasingly global nature of that activity” indeed pointed out  the nature of human progress. Every solution yields a compound of new problems, and so the cycle continues. I still imagine the domino effect when I read this passage. This student discusses the cellphone for example. The cellphone when premature was created for the sole purpose of using a telecommunication device while being mobile. He discusses the model based off convenience, in this case the cellphone being small enough to fit in our pockets. He then mapped out some advancements that were made due to growing demand and increased technologies that were created as a complement to the device, such as cosmetic improvements and better functioning operating systems with applications growing at a very fast rate. Similarly this post points out the fact that humans are constantly trying to improve and his example effectively demonstrates this fact.

Another student discusses whether or not technology is skewing the way we interact with the world. He explains how technology has luxuriously provided us with information that is very accessible to the general public but the fast rate in which we can do this has also caused the speed in which we operate to increase tremendously. There is a conflict of interest when we consider advancements in technology, and that is whether or not it is really aiding us or inadvertently harming us. I liked this article and will refer to it because there are some interesting points to think about here.

This student had a very interesting parallel to one of Engelbart’s passages from his article. She suggests that the use of Adderall is comparable to the proposed method of “augmenting human intellect” in which we are taking use of an external stimulant, whether the aid of an information system, or the consumption of pharmaceutical drugs that increase cognition, comprehension and information processing.

The Interpretation of Dreams

I did a bit of browsing through the “Google Glass” webpage and found some “Explorer Stories” that were very inspiring. “Explorers” are what Google calls the users of the device. One story was about a firefighter who is currently working on creating technology to extend the use of “Google Glass” while responding to cases. This technology would ideally identify nearby fire hydrants, upload floor plans, deconstruction models for cars, and much more. The technology is still premature but this is just an example of what “Google Glass” can become.

Another really inspiring story was about a girl who was was paralyzed during a car accident. She was on her way to a camping trip when the life-changing event occurred. This girl became an “Explorer” and gave her testimony on how the glasses changed her life. She was able to have a lot more power over her life while she spent the majority of her time on a wheelchair. This to me, represents the improvements the gadget can  add to one’s livelihood.

I believe that “Google Glass” has a lot more to offer the world than is estimated.

 

Dreamers Unite

Everyone reading this has a smartphone, right? Well if not us smartphone users would probably consider you to be from a different era! Everyone should have a smartphone. They’re convenient, operate with an array of functions, and house many applications that make our daily lives easier. From multimedia to banking, travel, news, social media and many other accessible mediums, the smartphone is our best tool.

But imagine wearing a pair of glasses that can do everything your smart phone does. If you haven’t heard of this innovation before, it sounds a little crazy right? Well here’s a visual representation of “Google Glass” which I will be talking more about.

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These are the hottest new electronic device on the market that makes the smart phone look like ancient history. “Google Glass” is innovative, lightweight, functional, and ideal for the person who is on the go.

In today’s day in age, the majority of business models center around the idea that people are busy and need to do things in a hurry. This applies to grabbing a bite to eat, depositing a check, checking in for a flight, you name it! Efficiency is what motivates the producers within our economy alongside many economies worldwide.

The idea behind “Glass” centers on the ability to use this gadget while being hands free. “Google Glass” can potentially influence the future of technology and how we interact with our “mobile devices.” I think it is important that we all pay attention to our new and improving devices that are changing the face of human behavior as we know it.

Texting My Dream

The primary text I have chosen to discuss is “Google Glass.” This fairly new innovation shares many similarities with the smartphone. Google created this pair of lenses with the mission to give users the luxury of using a device that is very similar to the smartphone but without having to hold the device in their hands. They wanted to create a device that allows users to perform many tasks while being able to interact with the world around them.

These lenses are not like any ordinary pair of bifocals. Attached on the top of the right frame of the glasses is a camera that allows users to take photos and videos while being hands free. Users have the option of buying a pair of personalized frames with or without a prescription, with many styles to choose from.

Below are screenshots of the current webpage for “Google Glass.”

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Google categorizes the functions into the following three categories, “Be Active,” “Explore Your World,” and “Live Lighter.”

The “Be Active” page emphasizes that being capable of performing different tasks on an electronic device, while being hands free is an essential part of our growth in technology. The  applications such as “Play Music,” “Send a Message,” “Navigation,” and “Strava Run,” are just a few to mention that can be used while wearing the pair of lenses.

“Explore Your World” also promotes being hand-free while categorizing apps such as “World Lens” and  “Field Trip.” “World Lens” for example, would let a user who is traveling outside of their native country translate any written language after taking a snapshot of what they see. It would immediately translate to the target language, for example if I couldn’t read road signs in France I could say “Translate to English” and it would change the text right in front of my eyes!

I think the reason why I am so interested in this subject as my primary text is because it is fascinating how Google executed the creation of a device that preserves the uses of communication, interaction with the world, and creativity all while being hands-free.

One thing I have found while doing research is consumer feedback that notes the glitches and durability with Glass. Like any new device, it takes time and constant improvement to make sure it is operating at its optimum level. This feedback can very well be a new way to conceptualize my primary text.

 

Obviously!

For the first two weeks of this course, we have spent a fair share of time discussing our progress in technology. The two articles “As We May Think” and “Man-Computer Symbiosis” have in common the projections of innovations of the future. We have composed two nugget posts with the articles as their supplements. For some of us, we have  produced completely new ideas when transitioning from one assignment to the next, for others such as myself we have extended our nugget to carry on a common theme. The theme that I have grasped from these articles is human advancement through the aid of technology. I have zoomed into “Google Glass” and have furthered my research through these “obvious statements.”

The “obvious statements” I have come up with for this assignment are as follows:

“Google Glass is like a smartphone through your glasses.”

“Google Glass will turn us into robots.”

“Google Glass will easily break.”

I inserted these statements into Google’s search engine and waited to see what interesting articles I would come across. One article, “Obstructed Reality” by Will Oremus was a personal testimony about the lenses. Oremus described his experience as more so an inconvenience than upgrade when making comparing it to the smart phone. I found that to be very interesting. Similarly another article by John Koetsier discussed the negative aspects of these lenses. Koetsier wrote about the fragility of the lenses and how the expectations of the consumer are not in fact guaranteed.

These two articles were very interesting to stumble upon. I browsed through a hefty list of the populated search results and I can definitely say that I have a new found understanding of how these lenses really work. I definitely think this assignment has refined my search and I have gained a lot of insight regarding my topic. It has emphasized that to inquire about a subject and really build an understanding that is sound and provable you don’t always have to start out with a complex question.

Man-Computer Symbiosis (Nugget)

“Man-computer symbiosis is a subclass of man-machine systems. There are many man-machine systems. At present, however, there are no man-computer symbioses. The purpose of this paper are to present the concept between men and computing machines, calling attention to applicable principles of man-machine engineering, and pointing out a few questions to which research answers are needed.”

“Man-computer symbiosis,” as explained by J.C.R. Licklider was a very captivating concept to grasp as I found my imagination working at a speed that was almost overwhelming. It was as if I was foreshadowing the world before us, and to be honest I was intimidated by the idea that we could integrate man and computer to have what will inevitably be a dependent relationship.

I found my self re-reading the paragraph I quoted above and thought to myself man-machine systems, man-machine systems, there are evidently so many but why can’t I think of any? And then there you have it, another light bulb went off in my head and I instantly thought about my first nugget post and “Google Glass.” Well that is a man-machine system and quite frankly a symbiosis awaiting to occur when the gadget gets in the majority of our hands. I thought about the dependence of man on their smart phone for example and said to myself, well that is a symbiosis right? An “interdependent,” “productive,” and “thriving” partnership in the definitive words of Licklider. I thought about the effect on one’s life when the absence of their smart phone occurs and I’ve definitely seen devastated reactions when one’s telephone dies or breaks, etc.

Lets go back to “Google Glass”. This gadget, essentially an extension of the smart phone and its functions, would take humans into a different tier of computer dependence. I mean, we would wear these lenses on our faces and have access to all of the functions we use on our smart phones. I remember my initial reaction when learning about “Google Glass” and thinking, wow we are going to be like robots walking right past each other before we know it. “Google Glass” will learn how to warn us of a possible collision with a car, human, or any other object. We will stare into these hologram-like screens that the glasses produce and speak to our gadgets to perform a multitude of operations. We would become entirely dependent on this relationship.

About five decades ago, Licklider was proposing a man-computer symbiosis. Do we have one now? Do you guys agree that this is what he described in the article? I would love your feedback!

*****EDIT*****

Chris Koy titled his nugget post “Man-Computer Symbiosis- Hard Drive and Hard Book. Romance or Tragedy?.” I enjoyed his use of language to describe the relationship between these two entities because it was a clever way to help us imagine the  future.

Chris discussed Licklider’s proposal of man-computer symbioses and presented an example that Licklider could not have imagined. In his example he described present-day memory capacity on data-processing information systems. In my discussion, I discussed the electronic gadget “Google Glass” that is on the market. Similarly we both discussed what we think are man-computer symbioses today.

While reading the article, it was difficult not to imagine our future with technology. Like Michael, I imagined what a symbiotic relationship between man and computer would be . Michael asked key questions that were very thought provoking. “If we give computers human characteristics, what’s the risk of keeping them from taking us over and spiraling out of control?” Upon reading this question I thought about my Univ 112 course here at VCU where we read “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep” by Phillip K. Dick. One of the conflicts in this book was the human vs. the machine and how integrating the two can cause destruction and the loss of our emotions. Perhaps I can refer to this book to extend my nugget.

Another thought provoking post was by Camille D.Lapid who described human intellect as ever changing, ever growing, and not limited to the instruction of a set of codes or programs. The way we differentiate man from computer should be obvious, one is human and one is not but it seems as if we are walking on a path that will make it difficult to distinguish the two. It is hard to imagine that we are on a path of creating even more advanced man-computer symbioses.

As humans we have not ceased to evolve  and push the limit of our reach. However, the track we  are on does not seem to promote the preservation of our human nature and that is concerning.

 

Connecting Associative Trails

After browsing through some of my classmate’s associative trails posts, I found many similarities and differences between us.

Some of the things I found myself to have in common with my peers was the effect of experience on thought. In my nugget post, I briefly discussed how I believe that our experiences and what we hold in our memory is very influential on the thoughts we cultivate.  For example my fellow peer William Strahan http://rampages.us/wstrahan/2014/06/12/associative-trails-concept-experience/#comment-26  zoomed in on the background of author Vannevar Bush which I found to be a very insightful thing to do. Nevertheless, he ended up right back to where experience effected his train of thought as he researched advanced technology on computers, being a computer lover and Computer Science major. I found that to be very interesting.

Another one of my peers discussed the relation of our inner self and behavior. “Our mind and body are a connected system that has dimensions we could not even believe. The moment we realized the close relationship the more in sync we will become with ourselves. If anyone is interested in become more in sync with his or her mind and body I would suggest yoga or meditation.” I found this excerpt from the blog post ( http://rampages.us/ewingjm2/2014/06/13/our-associate-trails/#comment-22 ) to be a great way to understand not only ourselves, but ourselves through this particular assignment. Surely our most inner self, is a medley of experiences that make us so unique. No two people are alike.

On the contrary, there were blog posts that I found to describe a different process than which I had for the first nugget post. I found that a lot of my peers went through a series of Google searches to find what they were looking for, whereas I instantly focused in on a nugget that I linked with a passage that I found to be very intriguing. For example, Will Sullivan discussed his reliance on the Google search engine. He described his search as “free-range googling” ( http://rampages.us/willthesullivan/18/#comment-28 ). Granted there are times I “free-range google” , but not for this particular assignment. I thought it would be easier to narrow down on a subject in order to make an authentic connection.

Overall, I found this “Associative Trails” assignment to be very insightful. If I had to do my nugget again I would have probably researched the author of the article, Vannevar Bush a little bit more to establish some credibility as to what I was reading. I think it would have helped give depth to my understanding of the projections he was making in the article and who knows, it could have influenced me to research another topic outside of what I was already familiar with.

Dreaming With Groupthink

After viewing the “Dreaming With Groupthink” wiki, I think I am happy with the digital text I initially discussed in my “What Will I Dream” post. I found social media websites to be common on the wiki and I think that’s simply because it is a part of the majority of our lives. In today’s day in age, if you are not active on a social media site you might get looked at with a perplexed face.  We are at the forefront of the a new stage of human existence- the digital era and the way we communicate with one another has changed immensely.

I think it would be cool to explore my topic from different perspectives, such as different professional disciplines and I think that the research that is available will have a lot of insightful information on how we interact with one another!

Reporting My Dream

In my “What Will I Dream” post, I shared how I enjoy the social media sites “Instagram” and “Pinterest.”

I think I really enjoy these sites because they bring together an array of categories that are fun to browse through. I would definitely consider these sites a fun and simple way to take up some free time I have within the day. The great thing is that these sites are easily accessible on a smartphone or computer (really anything with internet.) With that being said, I definitely enjoy the convenience of visiting these sites. Instead of buying different magazines or following a ton of blogs, these sites populate everything I’m looking for.

Associative Trails

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I think that my thought process when composing my nugget was based primarily on memory and association. The passage I chose from the article was one of many passages that I found intriguing. However, it was like a light bulb went off in my head when I read about the walnut sized camera that would be mounted on our foreheads. Immediately, I created an association to “Google Glass” which I learned about a few months before and the similarities between the descriptions led me to think that it was a perfect nugget.

I would categorize my thinking into the discipline of psychology. I think that my associative trails for this primary text represents the effect of experience on thinking which is one of the concepts that psychologists constantly research.