—This week I read three articles that presented a smorgasbord of positions about human-reliance on techno-gadgets.
In the first article, Carr explored the question is Google making us stupid? The author expressed concerned about our reliance on technology. Carr’s general argument is that tech and/or artificial intelligence is gaining strength and humans are experiencing an all time high of dumb. I would place Carr in the sky is falling category.
In The Myth of the Disconnected Life, Farman discussed how technology can be used to heighten our sense of place; he provided a few concrete examples of how tech has been used to enhance our personal experience with place. His argument could comfortably fit in the camp of tech-advocate.
The third piece is an excerpt from Clive Thompson’s book, Smarter Thank You Think. Thompson makes a convincing case for ongoing collaboration between humans and computers. He makes no attempt to promote one entity over the other. I would categorize Thompson’s stance as middle of the road.
I identified more with Thompson’s position. He was equally critical of the abilities of both man and computer. Thompson argued that humans have a unique trait–intuition–which cannot be replicated by computers. For example:
The recent accident between a motorist and one of Uber’s self-driven cars is a demonstration of what can happen if human abilities are absent from reality. A motorist failed to yield to the Uber vehicle, which caused the accident. If we replace the self-driven car with a human driver, we could increase the chances of avoiding the accident. You can read more about this accident by clicking here.
Computers cannot account for the unpredictable behavior that humans express on a daily basis. Yet, I am an advocate for driver assist technology (DAT), which harkens back to Thompson’s description of collaborative chess–humans and computers as chess teammates. I am not comfortable with computers taking full command of automobiles, but a few DAT warnings along the way could enhanced safety.
Much of this was discussed in previous GEDI sessions, so I look forward to rehashing the topic.
I shamefully admit that I have tuned in to watch most of Trump’s speeches during and after his presidential campaign. Needless to say, each speech was more disappointing that the previous. He made the following statement during his acceptance of the Republican nomination:
President Obama has doubled our national debt to more than $19 trillion and growing. – #45
The bit that I know about our budget process is that you can never pin the entire national debt on one person, and you most certainly should consider the inaction of congress in the equation. For me, this speech was the first sign of Trump’s alternative facts. The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget wrote a piece entitled Has President Obama Doubled the National Debt? When you have a few minutes, read the article. While some of Obama’s policies did indeed have an adverse impact on the national debt, the Committee points out that the increase in the national debt was already set in motion before Obama took office (e.g. the Great Recession). The article also states that Trump’s proposed policies would also have a doubling effect on the national debt. So, this is what I gather from it all–Bush created the mess…Obama attempted to fix it…Trump points the finger at Obama while he designs plans to re-Bush us. This is tom-foolery at its best.
I stumbled across this article that summarizes the U.S. presidential candidates’ plan for managing the costs for higher education. Trump takes a more conservative approach, and Hillary’s plan looks as though she’s been drinking Bernie’s kool-aid. Trump’s plan is pretty much more of the same, so I will not waste any space reviewing his plan, you can do so via this link (https://www.nasfaa.org/2016_presidential_candidates). However, I would like to drawn out a few points related to Hillary’s proposal.
- Hillary is proposing a lower interest rate for those who already have student loan debt. Outstanding!
- She also proposes that students from families with a collective income of $85 or less go to in-state 4-year colleges for free. Brakes!
While the second bullet sounds good in theory, how do you implement such a plan without ticking off those who weren’t afforded the same opportunity. I combed through the rest of Hillary’s plan looking for a loan forgiveness clause–beyond those that already exist. There is nothing mentioned along these lines. If Hillary becomes president, and her plan is implemented…there will be fallout. There will be a large segment of society that are currently enrolled in school that these perks will not apply to. Instead, they will be on a 20 year loan forgiveness track. Unfair much?