Tag Archives: #technology

Nugget post #2: The line between Man and Computer is blurry?

“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”

In J.C.R Licklider’s, “Man-Computer Symbiosis”, the author delves into the relationship between man and computer. On one hand, men made computers and are always trying to find ways in which to incorporate them into our daily lives. On the other hand, computers have taken on a lot of roles that man once did. What I also found interesting is that the author has noted that the word “computer” has started to encompass all things but it is hazardous because technology is changing every day. He also compares that to generalizing all of mankind, which is hazardous as well. Nevertheless, the relationship between Man and Computer is one of complexity but also one of astonishment because neither can thrive on its own (of course in this day in age). What I also found interesting is that the author discusses how man is a computer as well. We process data, we can take on different tasks at once and we can program ourselves as well. Some of the main differences have a lot to do with the fact that we have emotions. Symone talks about this really well when she asks the question of “the logical mind vs. the emotional heart. Would we accept the rational answer or ignore it?” Again, emotions is what seperates humans from machines, machines think rationally while humans sometimes think with there heart.

However, another notable and crucial difference that Justin (Just an Average guy blog) stated is that it is not so much that humans do not have the intelligent capabilities of what computers can do; it has a lot to do with time. If humans can find a way to shorten time for tasks, they will do it.

Another one of my peers, Justin, from “Justin’s Thought Vectors” has also opened my eyes to a new perspective of what we humans have. We have imagination, we have the ability to produce new and fresh ideas that no two people can have exactly the same. Computers are limited and a lot of the limitation is due to the computers more logic way of thinking and the fact that we limit what technology is capable of doing as well.

What this reminds me of is a reading that the Focused Inquiry program assigned us to read, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep by Philip K. Dick, in which one of the main themes is the defining line between human and android.

Just as the excerpt I chose above, it discusses the replacement of man which is what the androids were for in the novel. As well as the statement “they are semi-automatic systems that started out to be fully automatic but fell short of the goal”, which also reflects the androids in the novel because humans still succeeded farther than technology.

However, not to say that computers have not helped or even have advanced humans, Justin, makes a valid point that the many hurdles the author mentioned have been improved or solve. We are now moving towards technology that is blending human characteristics with computers, thus forming the all famous Siri on Apple products, this idea of artificial technology.

One of my classmates, Katie, talks about Siri a little further, she explains it helps her mom text because she cannot see the screen very well. Now that I think about it, Siri was truly a great addition to the Iphone, it has the capability to not only speed information up but assist with people who may be disabled or like my mom, cannot see the screen very well either.

However, what I also find is that there are still a lot of people who like the more traditional way of finding directions or looking up information. My mom, for example, is quite overwhelmed and scared of the new technology because she finds it to be a little too complicated. I am not going to lie, it is complicated, I just so happen to grow up during the time when technology was blooming. So I am thinking, what about technology that is more advanced but at the same time simple and easy.

I took a look at Gerell’s post as well and she talks about something similar to Siri that was in the Iron Man movies, the system J.A.R.V.I.S. That system is incredible but how realistic? Again, I think about individuals such as my parents who are a bit intimidated by new technology. Will we teach the next generation to rely heavily on technology?

What this nugget also reveals is that in the past years, it is true that technology has started to replace humans. If you take a look at factories, much of factories are machine operated and does not require as many humans. On one side of the spectrum, this is fantastic because we are moving away from needing humans and less contamination or mistakes (arguably) would be made. However, on the other side, this results in a loss of jobs and a high dependency on technology which can result to an unhealthy relationship as well. Where is the dividing line between what is for humans and what is for computers, must all things have to use technology nowadays? Although this is a rhetorical question, it is still one to think about.

Here is an article that discusses the positive and negative factors about machines/computers doing our jobs. http://www.technologyreview.com/news/428429/when-machines-do-your-job/

Everything In this article and in the nugget is mind boggling because we are truly moving towards having technology take on more human capabilities. For example, cars now have the ability to stop and to parallel park without our help. There are cars that will soon have the ability to drive itself. So I am sitting here wondering if the relationship between Man and Computer will eventually dissolve. What I mean is that, if we are starting to have computers even help us with driving, do humans even need to get a license. The relationship will soon be to the point where computer will dominate man.

That scares me because I think about the future and what will come of technology taking more responsibility for things that were once deemed for only human capabilities.

Making this also interesting because then one could say computers are humans as well and the line between what makes us human or “man” is blurred.




Nugget #1: No middle ground for technology?

In Vannevar Bush’s, As We May Think, there is one passage that was so deeply capturing to the eye:

The applications of science have built man a well-supplied house, and are teaching him to live healthily therein. They have enabled him to throw masses of people against another with cruel weapons. They may yet allow him truly to encompass the great record and to grow in the wisdom of race experience. He may perish in conflict before he learns to wield that record for his true good. Yet, in the application of science to the needs and desires of man, it would seem to be a singularly unfortunate stage at which to terminate the process, or to lose hope as to the outcome.

This particular passage highlights exactly what the author wants, this idea of being able to further technology so that we can improve society and have knowledge stored and readily available. His idea behind “Memex” is his solution to solve the areas that technology seems to lack in. Although technology has significantly impacted society in ways that were once unimaginable, technology has also brought upon destruction, whether that is through war or through a tweet sparking a revolution in the Middle East.

Why I am so intrigued by this passage is because “Memex” is what is behind the overall concept of hypertext and the basis for the World Wide Web. Being able to share information collectively and sharing ideas to the world. However, that is exactly why I am intrigued, because I believe that he may be overestimating the power of technology and underestimating the power of mankind. I also believe that something such as the “Memex” cannot possibly solve destruction; it is something that man has to overcome.

What I also find so interesting about this nugget, is that the author discusses that we need to reinvent technology and improve society so that the concepts of race and record would be fixed. However, ironically, this sort of shows that humans may develop an unhealthy relationship with technology to the point where technology may be controlling us. That is what is interesting, because in this new digital and technology driven world we live in, humans have this high dependency on things such as the internet or IPhones and social media sites that is just as destructive or even more harmful.

I wanted to take this passage further and look at the negative factors/destruction side towards technology as a whole.

If one is to really think about technology and this new digital driven world that we live in, one may say that technology may be controlling us even though we (humans) are the inventors. There have been many articles and entries that repeatedly discuss how it is hard for us to put down our phones or get away from social media sites. The education system in the United States is starting to implement a lot more technology and popular websites to help relate to this younger generation.

It is such a fascinating topic because on one hand, advancements in technology are amazing; humans actually have the ability to virtually talk to anyone around the world with a simple click of a button. On the other hand, technology may be making us lose sight in what is important in life: The latest and greatest devices? or experiences and memories knowing that life is short. Nevertheless, everyone has their own definition of life fulfillment and goals, but these are interesting concepts to keep in mind.

Being a student and growing up where I got to see a glimpse of technology changing before my eyes, I have always defended the use of social media and things such as IPhones because I was blinded by speed. I see a lot of positives to technology, anything I want to learn takes a simple search and any news update I can find on my Twitter feed.

However, that is my concern that we are so blinded about what technology has helped us do and not looking at some of the negative implications that we can fix upon that can help us in the future.

Here are a couple links that describe the negative effects of technology and a new way to look at destruction.


-This article discusses the horrible realities of what goes into building the ever famous Ipad, it goes beyond money, the costs seems to be human life.


-This article is quite interesting because it is a study that shows that social media sites such as Facebook or Twitter can possible make us feel lonelier and less sociable because we are less inclined to make effort for an in-person conversation.


-This article is interesting because it talks about how technology is negatively affecting families and relationships world-wide.

Again, the articles above are not to say that technology has not improved society, or that we should give up technology in our daily lives. I believe that sometimes we have to be able to take a break from technology sometimes and come to a realization that there are in fact negative effects of technology. However, as the passage defines above, technology has helped us and hurt us. Although, the author would say that “Memex” would be the ultimate solution, I believe that it is humans that have to reinvent technology that will cater to us rather than us catering our lives to technology. We have to advance the things that are working and improve on the things that are not working.

One machine is not going to change mankind, mankind has to change mankind. Destruction is inevitable but improvement is not.

(Here is some memes that I found funny because the passage was talking about “Memex” so I thought it was only appropriate to post a couple “memes” about technology)

meme 1 meme 2