The Tastiest of the Nuggets

The individual does not use this information and this processing to grapple directly with the sort of complex situation in which we seek to give him help. He uses his innate capabilities in a rather more indirect fashion, since the situation is generally too complex to yield directly to his motor actions, and always too complex to yield comprehensions and solutions from direct sensory inspection and use of basic cognitive capabilities. For instance, an aborigine who possesses all of our basic sensory-mental-motor capabilities, but does not possess our background of indirect knowledge and procedure, cannot organize the proper direct actions necessary to drive a car through traffic, request a book from the library, call a committee meeting to discuss a tentative plan, call someone on the telephone, or compose a letter on the typewriter.” –Douglas C. Engelbart

So my first thought when reading this was the question “is man born into technology?”, which I quickly googled, expecting nothing.  What’d I get? Nearly nothing.  But I did find this quote which I will post before deciding if it is pertinent.

No man is born into the world whose work is not born with him. There is always work, and tools to work with, for those who will, and blessed are the horny hands of toil. The busy world shoves angrily aside the man who stands with arms akimbo until occasion tells him what to do; and he who waits to have his task marked out shall die and leave his errand unfulfilled.

— James Russell Lowell

I read the quote for a third time and I finally like it.  What I take from it is that man is given the tools he needs, he just needs to figure out how and when to use them, because no one is going to come along and show him.  I think this can fit back into the grand scheme of technology, and even back into the first Nugget I chose of Bush’s that spoke of the Egyptians.  Let’s speak broadly (and forgive my choice of random numbers, my mental timeline is not so good.) Let’s go back about 400 years. That’s around Jamestown times, right? Back then did they have the abilities to create a modern sort of technology? Let’s say a car.  Yes and no.  They had all the basic materials, right? Discovery of the wheel, metal work, etc.  But the human brain hadn’t learned how to utilize the materials in a way that could achieve this.  They still hadn’t learned to harness the powers of electricity or create a motor, but they COULD have if someone had thought to do it.  My point is, if I haven’t made it clear, that there is a difference between worldly ability and human ability.  Man had not caught up to that point of innovation, and until the need for it arose, man wouldn’t have a need to try to create it.   Going back to the original nugget, an aborigine with no experience of this technology would of course have no idea what to do with it.  His life never required it so his people never created it.  He has the ability to learn it because he was born with these tools, but they are not put into action.
I was very impressed with Maryam’s analysis of her chosen nugget, not just because of where her interest and research led her, but also because she so well integrated her own analysis with modern sources, examples, and images.  Her mixed media post really demonstrates the modern technology she speaks about.
In Wuddy’s post, The Domino Effect, Wuddy discusses Englebart’s brick-pencil example and how different technologies seem to have a lifespan.  Although he did not use these words, what I took from this post is that technology, similarly to humans, is subject to “survival of the fittest”. If a new invention does not significantly impress or improve it will die out and be replaced by a more useful tool. I had never thought about this before, but after reading this post I find the idea absolutely true and very intriguing.
Braxtondn was an interesting blog to read because we used virtually the same text in our nuggets, so I was able to do a closer analysis of opinions.  Braxton began by discussing cause and effect and how decisions can influence an outcome, so immediately our thought process diverges, which is completely fascinating that people can have such different and valid thoughts on a text.  Braxton then continues that thought to technology and how computers become a sort of research-assistant to those doing the research by fixing and suggesting searches.   I’m not sure the two thoughts discussed quite link in my head in the same way as the author, but I like both thoughts individually, as they expanded the way I think about the topics.


  1. Pingback: Nugget #3: Augmenting Human Intellect | morganneperez

  2. Pingback: Nugget Curation | The KahnQuest

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