We rely on computers to fly our planes, find our cancers, design our buildings, audit our businesses. That's all well and good. But what happens when the computer fails?
by Nicholas Carr
"Whether it’s a pilot on a flight deck, a doctor in an examination room, or an Inuit hunter on an ice floe, knowing demands doing. One of the most remarkable things about us is also one of the easiest to overlook: each time we collide with the real, we deepen our understanding of the world and become more fully a part of it. While we’re wrestling with a difficult task, we may be motivated by an anticipation of the ends of our labor, but it’s the work itself—the means—that makes us who we are. Computer automation severs the ends from the means. It makes getting what we want easier, but it distances us from the work of knowing. As we transform ourselves into creatures of the screen, we face an existential question: Does our essence still lie in what we know, or are we now content to be defined by what we want? If we don’t grapple with that question ourselves, our gadgets will be happy to answer it for us."
Jim Lerman's insight:
Carr made a name for himself with his rather famous. but perhaps a bit overstated piece in The Atlantic in 2008, "Is Google Making Us Stupid?" Now, 5 years later, this article is more nuanced, better documented, and provides more entertaining and enlightening narratives. He certainly seems to have learned a thing or two about storytelling from the likes of Malcolm Gladwell.
This article could perhaps be called, "Can technology de-skill us and make us lazy?" The answer to that question is most probably yes. How do we stay lean, hungry, and engaged when it can be so easy to become heavy, insatiable, and continuously, partially attentive? Carr makes a good point.
via Larry Ferlazzo