CL/DM Nugget

“Schools as we know them all run on the same principles: iron all subjects flat than then proceed, in groups, at a forced march across the flattened plain. Material is dumped on the students and their responses calibrated; their interaction and involvements with the material is not encouraged nor taken into consideration, but their dutifulness of response is carefully monitored.

While an exact arrangement of intended motivations for the student is preset within the system, they do not usually take effect according to the ideal. It is not that students are unmotivated, but motivated askew. Rather than seek to achieve in the way they are supposed to, students turn to churlishness, surliness, or intellectual sheepishness. A general human motivation is god-given at the beginning and warped or destroyed by the educational process as we know it; thus we internalize at last that most fundamental of grownup goals: just to get through another day. ”


This nugget is something that I clicked with right away. I caught myself nodding my head as if I was conversation with the author agreeing with what he had to say. This is an issue I saw as  I grew up and I cannot see it changing in the foreseeable future. Our public educational system has set up individuals  to work under those who started in private schools, making the majority of the population behind educationally. Even compared to the world we fall behind, and yet we are still so proud to be American. I was frustrated but not surprised when I recently learned that my home town is actually one of the snobbiest places in America. This is partly because of the fact that there are more private schools than public in this area making the education gap even greater.

Yet I digress, even some the most brilliant people did not even finish college, let alone attend private schools. So in the end maybe education is not so much about what a teacher teaches you but rather what you want to teach yourself in life.

Nugget from “Man- Computer Symbiosis”

“Although detailed discussion of techniques of automatic speech recognition is beyond the present scope, it is fitting to note that computing machines are playing a dominant role in the development of automatic speech recognizers. They have contributed the impetus that accounts for the present optimism, or rather for the optimism presently found in some quarters. Two or three years ago, it appeared that automatic recognition of sizeable vocabularies would not be achieved for ten or fifteen years; that it would have to await much further, gradual accumulation of knowledge of acoustic, phonetic, linguistic, and psychological processes in speech communication. Now, however, many see a prospect of accelerating the acquisition of that knowledge with the aid of computer processing of speech signals, and not a few workers have the feeling that sophisticated computer programs will be able to perform well as speech-pattern recognizes even without the aid of much substantive knowledge of speech signals and processes. Putting those two considerations together brings the estimate of the time required to achieve practically significant speech recognition down to perhaps five years, the five years just mentioned.”


When I read this all I could imagine was Siri speaking to me. This passage is almost a description of Siri, but it’s ability is much greater than what Licklider was describing. Siri can go beyond just a few thousand words, it knows more than one language and can cancel out most background noise. The part that found interesting was that Lickliders’ prediction was decades off. Was it the lack of technology or was the market simply not interested in such technology at the time? It is hard for me to imagine that in the 90’s individuals wouldn’t want a personal voice assistant. None the less Licklider dropped my jaw when he was describing a program not yet invented.