Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Smarter Than You Think -- Chapter 1

[Smarter Than You Think]

In Chapter 1 "The Rise of The Centaurs" of Smarter Than You Think, Clive Thompson writes about chess and the evolution of the game. He discusses in detail the use of computer generated chess games. Ultimately, Thompson concluded that the best chess game is played humans and computers working side by side.

Thompson notes that:
History also shows that we generally improve and refine our tools to make them better. Books, for example, weren't always as well designed as they are now. In fact, the earliest ones were, by modern standards, practically unusable - often devoid of the navigational aids we now take for granted, such as indexes, paragraph breaks, or page numbers. It took decades - centuries, even - for the book to be redesigned into a more flexible cognitive tool, as suitable for quick reference as it is for deep reading. This is the same path we'll need to tread with our digital tools. It's why we need to understand not just the new abilities out tools give us today, but where they're still deficient and how they ought to improve (12-13).

What did you find most notable about the author’s discussion of chess and technology in chapter 1? Why and how so?

21 comments:

Alexandra J said...

I found it most interesting when the author stated that neither one is better than the other, computers and humans are best when they collaborate and work together. I also find it ironic that humans created the computer and now in some instances, the makers have programmed computers how to be smarter than them.

Mikaela Suggs said...

What I found was most notable was that how well technology and humans complimented each other. While humans have the ability to analyze people and use other psychiatric gestures to get an advantage, computers can generate all possible scenarios. This is the most notable in my opinion because this can be found true in most aspects of life. For example, in a hospital, workers can tell when a person is in pain, but it can sometimes be difficult to make a quick diagnosis. With the help of technology, the root of the problem can be found then treated in an orderly fashion.

Shervonti N said...

What I found most interesting about the discussion of technology and chess would have to be how the amateurs were able to beat the grand master players. It wasn't necessarily because of their skill in chess but the skill that went into them using technology. I found this interesting because there are many other areas in which this little concept can be applied. Like, if a person isn't exactly sure how to do something... typing it into Google will give you a million and one ways to do it. For example, working on a math problem but you're not exactly sure of a conversion factor... type that into Google and you get the answer and how to get there right away.

Kelsey W said...

I liked how he was explaining how computers could make chess players like a double threat since they have a creative side but also the computer that will generate the best moves. A lot of people bash technology nowadays but I don't think those people explore how different life would be without it. I'm not talking about video games and such but the medical, space, and etc advances. I like how this author explores all the little positives of technology.

Ajeenah Johnson-Brown said...

I found it most interesting when the author was discussing how technology(computers) and humans work best hand in hand. They both have their disadvantages, but when used together they compliment each other. In his example of chess, the chess player would provide the creative strategy and style while the computer applies logic to the game.

Belainesh Nigeda said...

The most interesting thing was seeing the progress being made with the use of technology. Like Thompson stated in the book, people usually associate technology with negative connotations, but I like how his chess/human example exhibited the exact opposite.
I like how they showed how a master chess player could beat a fairly good chess player with no technology. But, with the use of technology, he could beat the chess master. I like how chess players used computers at first and now it's an app that they can use. People using technology to their advantage. We add to our knowledge with technology. We become smarter human beings.

-B. Nigeda

Anitra B. said...

Like others stated above, I found it interesting that neither the computer nor the human was smarter than each other, but they are better while working together which each other. It was also interesting how it he stated that the computer did the logical part, analyzing possible moves, while the human analyzed the human and used intuition; two things that the computer cannot do. I think that this is important to think about as new technology is created and implemented into society. You can program a computer to do many things, but they can't do everything that humans do because they can't mentally or emotionally interact with humans.

Mercedes H said...

What I found most notable was that humans and technology compliment each other and that the two together have the potential to be better than either alone. I find that most notable because technology is nearly unavoidable now. In almost any class you'll take at almost any institution, you will have a professor with some form of technology to help guide them. Thus, a human and some form of technology working together.

Brianna B said...

Like the other posters, I found the complementary nature between humans and technology to be the most interesting. It just goes to show that yes we can't advance without technology, but technology also can't advance without people.

Tiera Williams said...

I found a lot of things notable about the other's discussion of chess and technology throughout the chapter. However. the thing I found notable was at the end of the first chapter, because I feel like it can be applied to many situations. Thompson says, "Increasingly, a move isn't good or bad because it looks that way or because it hasn't been done that way before. It's simply good if it works and bad if it doesn't." What I take from that is there are a lot of ways to do one thing, but how it's done isn't important. The outcome is what counts.

Andrea R. said...

What caught my interest in this chapter is that Thompson lists the ways in which technology has benefited us rather than noting the ways technology has harmed people. The reason why I found this stance interesting is because people are quick to say that technology is "dumbing down society" as opposed to saying that technology is helping us retain more information and in a sense, making us smarter.

Paris Smith said...

I found that when he said that technology and humans go in hand in hand very interesting. It is true because humans are the ones that make technology and technology is what helps humans grow into a better society. It is also ironic that we are the ones that make the technology and yet it helps makes us smarter as a person because it allows us to ask questions and it gives us answers. We are going to continue to make new technology and the pattern is going to continue to remain in a circle until we no longer need new technology.

YaQkeha Witherspoon said...

I found it interesting how computers are man made, which means that a human was smart enough to think of it. But, sometimes it can outsmart humans. I never thought about that idea before. I also found it interesting how the author stated how when computers and human corroborate they then produce a even better chess player than one or the other by itself. Which means that we shouldn't rely on technology, but use it to enhance us.

Ta'Mara W said...

It was most notable that we humans are the ones that make computers and technology, although computers can outsmart us. Technology and humans go hand and hand. It is a helpful aid in many things like an amateur beating a master chess player. Maybe it would help them learn how to play on their own.

Natalie Thompson said...

What I found intersting is how the newbiesCramton and Stephen were able to beat the master and Hydra just by having the computer knowledge they had (P. 5). I was also found it interesting that even though a computer can calculate so many diffrent plays ahead of us, just buy using our brains we are still capable of beating a machine in chess. That is so fascinating.

Joi M said...

I find it most interesting or relevant to my life the discussion of technology and humans working hand and hand because I find that to be true with people and different groups. I thought of it in the way that different groups separate from each other, both having their different strengths and weaknesses, but when the bring their ideas together, it can create impactful ideas and innovations.

Joi M said...

I found the idea that technology and humans working together to be the most relevant to life. I think of it in the way that different groups separate from each other, both having their different strengths and weaknesses, but when the bring their ideas together, it can create impactful ideas and innovations.

Conradette King said...

I found it very interesting that Thompson stated that neither humans nor computers were the better thing. It makes sense to me that humans and computers need to work together to get the best results.

Tracee Williams said...

I found that the technology improvements over time was very interesting. To know the human mind is advancing and games like chess and other what would be thought to be simple things in life are becoming more complex is crazy to fathom. This does show that the help of computers and other technology on the human mind.

jessica oranika said...

I found it most notable that the best chess player was neither human nor computer, but a combination of both. But it does make sense that such a team would be able to build off of each others strengths and weaknesses to become unstoppable.

Kiana S said...

The most interesting part about this chapter to me was the fact that the good "centaurs" would always beat any combination of man and computer. The combination of the human thought process and the analytical contribution from the computer is a great strength and it honestly surprised me. Generally, most people worry that computers are the superior of the two, but this proves that the centaur is the best.