If today’s technology had not already encompassed Licklider’s speculations for interaction between humans and electronic computers, I would not have been able to process some of the ideas in his article, Man-Computer Symbiosis. It is interesting to think of the respective roles of each part of this symbiotic relationship. Licklider makes an very valid point, one that remains today; he says “instructions directed to computers specify courses; instructions directed to human beings specify goals” – the key words being “courses” and “goals.” Humans for the most part have full control over what they find on computers, especially through the utilization of the handy-dandy search bar (which relates back to the associational way we think, discussed last class). The search bar, among other technical processes which I have yet to understand completely, provides the “courses” through which we reach our “goals.” Humans rely so heavily on computers today for the “clerical” activities Licklider describes. Think about how many times we use our calculators to do simple math; most of us do not even trust our own mental math today. The fact that our heavy reliance on computers has not compromised our control of them represents the sheer success of this symbiotic relationship.
On a side note, something I found kind of paradoxical for today’s time was the statement that established books as a “functionally important” component “with-in the context of man-computer symbiosis.” With dependence on computers increasing exponentially, it seems that libraries become more and more futile everyday. This is a major theme in news today and it shows how much our values have changed, all because of this successful symbiosis. It’s kind of bittersweet if you think about it. Current technological innovations, like the Kindle, the Nook, and the many assortment of smart-phones, cause the phasing out of a centuries old information source, the book. What’s the old saying? When one door closes, another one opens?