Tag Archives: technology

Striking the Right [Tech] Balance

—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.

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To Blog or Not To Blog

During my time as a PhD student, professors have shared mixed comments about blogging.  Some professors have encouraged me to blog and others have deemed the practice as a waste of time.

What I noticed about those who were from the pro-blog camp is that they are either assistant professors or senior professors who happen to be tech savvy.

The anti-blog camp are typically older and committed to the traditional expectations of academia.

Even those from the pro-blog camp struggle with the act.  One professor asked me to chime in on a potential post.  The content was soooooo thick [wordy].  For some, making the transition from hefty manuscripts to brief and succinct commentary is a major challenge.  Here are a few other troubling comments that I have heard from students and professors:

  • I’m long-winded, and there’s no way I can cram all of what I have to say in that box.
  • Blogging will call into question my status as a serious scholar.
  • Who actually reads that %!#&?

Maybe it is time for universities to offer training on contemporary sharing platforms. Reboot?

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