I’m not sure what I’m going to have to say here that hasn’t been said already since I’m not working with any new materials, but we’re gonna try to dig deep.
Tag 1: Knowledge
Nelson and Engelbart both discuss knowledge, however their views on it seem to diverge. Nelson discusses knowledge as a powerful and elusive force in the world. His line “Knowledge is power and so it tends to be hoarded.” sounds like the dramatic opening to a fantasy novel, styled after Smeagol from Lord of the Rings. Followed by his comment about the priesthood, Nelson definitely sets the scene for a dark and mysterious quest for knowledge. This is countered by Engelbart’s more lighthearted view and imagery of knowledge. Engelbart is quick to state that man is born with an inherent set of capabilities and knowledge. While the environment may change just how you think and what you think about, as a human, one possesses innate abilities. Clearly this goes against Nelson’s view of knowledge being hoarded, because how can you hoard something everyone possesses?
Tag 2: Critical Thinking
Licklider brings up the topic of symbiosis between man and machine, and how eventually they will work seamlessly together in processing and decision making. I think the idea of this paragraph is that between the intuitive judgements and knowledge of man and the critical analysis of machine, optimal decisions can be made. Neither man nor machine has the ability to rely on both of these (though it could be argued that man could painstakingly collect the data of precedent and analyze it effectively) but together they can work as a harmonious team. Whether you consider this critical thinking though, I’ll leave you to decide.
Tag 3: Development
There is no question that technology has developed over time, and has developed us as a society alongside it. Bush conjures the image of a “well-built house” provided by science, from which we have learned to live happily within. To further this imagery, we have slowly been upgrading from a little shack with an outhouse to a seventy-two room mansion. It’s not that we were ever unhappy in our little shack or our one-bedroom apartment, it’s just that we eventually outgrew it and realized we could have better. However, Bush is not merely singing the praises of science and technology; he is quick to balance the scales by pointing out all the damage we have done and can do with this powerful tool. As we develop more good in the world, there is more to destroy.
Although Nelson does not address this, I would like to think that we as a community have developed since his piece was published. I would like to believe that through technology and the internet we have stopped hoarding our knowledge and have started to spread it. I think I could make the argument that we have indeed succeeded, but who knows how much information remains inaccessible to us?
Tag 4: Websurfing
This one is a bit tougher because none of these authors directly address the topic (I’m pretty positive the concept didn’t exist when any of these people even wrote!) but considering it is by far my most used tag, I feel it’s pretty necessary to do.
Websurfing, I think, is actually a good example of Licklider’s symbiosis. I, the human, come up with a starting point or line of inquiry. Then Google, the machine, will come up with suggestions, alternatives, or similar topics relating to my original point. For instance, I never would have gotten to half of my cited articles had ERIC and Google Scholar not properly interpreted my inputs and gave me valuable outputs. By trying to search “intrinsic learning”, which, let’s face it, who is going to put that as a tag? I was able to find articles on learning, motivation, and education. All because my computer knew what it was I was looking for and was able to point me in the right direction. How cool is that?!
All of my other tags are basically along the same lines, or else not useful at all. So I will close this out by trying to draw one more conclusion from the lot of these.
Most of the students of this class never really had to grow up without technology as we know it today. I don’t even remember my household without internet access. (forgive me, I may have lost a bit of my direction here as this is where I stopped writing to do my conference call with Dr. Coats) However, most of the dreamers we are reading from were writing from a time in which none of what we know was even on the horizons for them. Yet many of their points are still valid and cause a number of discussions, which makes me wonder what it was they saw looming in the potential of technology? What is it about all of these readings that make them so worthy of our thought now? I think it has to do with their interpretation not only of technology today, but of mankind and why technology is important to us as a society.