Outboard Brain

Following in the grand tradition of nearly every new technology, nobody started to panic about the potential downsides of cognitive outsourcing until kids starting doing it, and doing it in ways that their parents didn't understand. They type with their thumbs in ugly slang and funny symbols. They have short attention spans. They can't remember their own phone numbers. They spend more time on social media than they did with their friends irl (that's "in real life," my daughter tells me). They are becoming zombies, robbed of ambition and free will! New York Times columnist David Brooks reacted to the Wired article with a droll account of how he was giving in to the outsourced brain. "I had thought that the magic of the information age was that it allowed us to know more, but then I realized the magic of the information age is that it allows us to know less " Continuing, "You may wonder if in the process of outsourcing my thinking I am losing my individuality. Not so It's merely my autonomy that I'm losing."

A decade later, does anyone regret not having to memorize phone numbers or maps? Probably, yes, but they are the same type of people Arho lamented the lack of flaws in cloth and glass that wasn't produced by artisans, and who miss the hiss and pop of vinyl records. Do not confuse nostalgia with the loss of our humanity. Have we lost our free will to GPS devices and Amazon recommendations and personalized lews feeds? Losing the serendipity of getting lost on an old country oad, browsing tnrougn a bookstore, or thumbing through the printed newspaper can result in a marginal loss of well roundedness, I'm sure. But no one is preventing us from doing those things, especially since we have much more time in which to do them when satisfying our specific needs and wants has become so much easier.

We haven't lost free will; we have gained time that we don't yet know what to do with. We have gained incredible powers, virtual omliscience, but still lack the sense of purpose to apply them in ways that satisfy us. We have taken more steps in the advance of civilization, toward reducing the level of randomness and inefficiency in our lives. It's different, yes, and different can be disconcerting when it happens quickly, but that doesn't make it harmful. All this mockery and alarm ^ill disappear soon after a member of the generation that grew up with smartphones gets a column in the New York Times.


Folksonomies: cognition progress automation

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Mind (0.923852): dbpedia_resource

 Deep Thinking: Where Machine Intelligence Ends and Human Creativity Begins
Books, Brochures, and Chapters>Book:  Kasparov, Garry (201752), Deep Thinking: Where Machine Intelligence Ends and Human Creativity Begins, Retrieved on 2019-03-10
Folksonomies: artificial intelligence automation ai