[Smarter Than You Think]
We're just a couple of chapters in on Clive Thompson's Smarter Than You Think, a book that offers multiple perspectives on how technology actually strengthens our cognitive abilities, but what do you think so far? What key reflection or observation have you lingered on for a while and why? Please provide a page number when possible.
I've so far reflected on a question posed in the second chapter of the book. It asks "what would it be like to never forget anything?"
(p.23) and goes on to talk about our recent preoccupation with memories. Another thing the chapter mentions is that when we remember things, we may not remember precise details but instead a summary of the event; that memory isn't passive but instead active (p.26). The reason why I find this worth noting is because it really makes you think about the way in which the mind functions. I also found it interesting because it's a very true observation that many people probably don't really think about or even notice.
I agree that technology strengthens cognitive abilities. At the end of page 46 and the beginning of 47, statistics are given on the amount of things posted on the internet. It's amazing to think that years ago, the internet was not a part of lives, but now most rely on it heavily for numerous things.
I too found the question Thompson proposed interesting, "What would it be like to never forget anything?" (P. 23) However, I found this interesting because in my opinion we are gradually working our way toward this. With the use of technology you can record notes and set scheduled alarms to help remind you to complete certain tasks. We are able to capture moments and literally carry them in our pockets through cellphone cameras, instagram, and snapchat.
Yes, I agree that technology strengthens cognitive abilities. However, I might add that it does limit our mental capabilities as well. technology is a great way to expand on information and connect with one another. In modern day society, just about anyone can access the internet in america and have access to an endless amount of information. It does limit us from being motivated to do somethings on our own and learn more about how to do things with out the help of the internet or someone else. Overall, with much positivity there are some negative side effects.
I found the question "what would it be like to never for anything?" (P.23) interesting also but for other reasons. I feel that if events that have happened in your life were horrific they can either be very vivid and not just a summary or not "remembered" at all but merely repressed. There are memories that I have from when I 3 or 4 years old that most people wouldn't expect me to remember but they traumatized me to much that i remember it like it was yesterday.
After reading the first two chapters I have found myself thinking about how beneficial technology is overall. I agree that technology does benefit our current and future generations but I do also believe that it takes away from face-to-face interactions. Technology as a whole has advanced a lot over the past twenty years and it has given people the opportunity to enhance learning abilities and techniques as well as learn and stay up to date with everything going on in everyday life. Without the advances in technology, it wouldn't be as easily accessible to obtain the tools to produce a better sense of knowledge and the world around you.
I found the question "what would it be like to never for anything?" (P.23) intriguing because I am a very forgetful person. Because of this, I often struggle remembering information for test, people's names, and even important dates. So, I thought it would be really cool to be a life logger even though there are some disadvantages to it. That way I can just type a phrase into a computer and pull up information that I should have remembered.
Reading Smarter Than You Think has made it more clear how much the world around us is changing. It is incredible to think that not so long ago, people were buying their first laptop and now more than 3/4 of tasks are done on the internet or on some electronic device. Although I agree that technology strengthens cognitive abilities, I do think that because face to face interaction has become less of a need we have lost lots of in person social skills.
I do agree that technology strengthens our cognitive abilities, but I think that it also limits them as well. I feel as though there are good and some not so good aspects of how much technology we have to day. Like Maya stated before me, with the technology that we have today the internet provides many people access to a wealth of information, but we have to be careful of what we read on the internet because some of that information may not be correct. It also hinders a student's ability to think. For example, we Google a homework problem that we don't know instead of trying to work it out. Or we will use spell check or calculators instead of learning how to spell the word correctly or add accurately. There are many pros of all the technology that we have today, but there also are some cons as well.
I think technology both strengthens and weakens our cognitive abilities. The observation ive lingered on the most is how technology provides you with the ability to document so many things and how often times they're documented unconsciously. In contrast of being able to document being a beautiful thing it can be a divider from the real world. Some people get so wrapped up in documenting that that be come they're life instead of actually experiencing one. The point of consistent documentation is mentioned on page 8.
I thought his question on rememebering everything on page 23 was really interesting. On page 23, he writes, what would it be like to never forget anything?" At first I thought it would really cool to always remember everything you have ever learned, but as thought more and more about some my most memorable thoughts, I began to think of all the embarrassing things I had said or done. Although it would be interesting to remember a lot of stuff, it would also be embarrassing and annoying if you remembered all that stuff. But in reality, that is very much the case for the world today. Everything everyone writes or says on social media is being saved on computer drives for anyone to see if they so choose. It kind of makes me wonder what stupid things I have said.
I found two things interesting. FIt's the fact that technology strengthens our cognitive abilities. To me it seems maybe the opposite because today's technology is meant to make things easier for the everyday person, so it requires less thought to do things that were more complex 20 years ago. Also interesting is the question about never forgetting. On the surface level it seems great, but there are many times I wish I could forget some things, so it might not be as good as it first seems.
I think that technology helps our cognitive abilities in most ways. In the first chapter, technology was used to turn mediocre chess players to extraordinary ones. In the second chapter, the Ebbinghaus forgetting curve was especially interesting to me, but I do not think that technology is necessary to better our memory/cognitive abilities. Like the book says, remembering depends on context and its clues that it gives us. (24) Sure, we can record every single detail of our lives, but that's unrealistic, and in my opinion undesirable. Recording down context clues whether it be using technology or piece of paper, I think that its self helps cognitive abilities.
I agree that technology does strengthen cognitive abilities but it also limits us from a lot of things. We can always use the internet to answer questions that we do not know instead of us trying to solve it ourselves. There is a lot of information on the internet and I think that it has made us lazy in trying to solve and think things through for ourselves.
Having just taken a cognitive psychology course, the topic of this book is very interesting to me considering the effects of technology on cognitive development was a huge part of that class. I feel like technology doesn't hinder cognitive development but it "changes" it. People that have access to technology from young ages are certainly going to develop differently from someone that does not have access to technology. It doesn't mean that it's a bad thing but it's definitely different. I personally feel that it's a good thing (technology, that is) but technology almost forces you to expand the way in which you think.
Like Mikaela mentioned, I found the statistics (pg 46) to be fairly significant. It just strengthened how big the internet has become in our daily lives in terms of how we communicate with each other, express ideas, and just progress in general. That is the most lasting thought to me so far.
I have recently caught up with the readings, and I am a fan of the book so far. What struck me was the section on language and the possibility of "creating the ultimate memory machine" by wiring a house and monitoring the conversations that went on in a home. This is found on page 19 and continues on to dissect how we form our vocabulary and the connections we make with words and memories. I am a lover of words and I write often, so this process of recording words and significant moments in a persons life to analyze language interests me. Although I thought the process was a bit invasive and strange, I appreciate the fact that special moments between the family were captured. things that can't be planned.
One reflection that lingered with me was the idea of how accessible knowledge is to us these days. Page 47 talks about the amount of things posted on the internet for anyone to see. A hundred years ago, gaining the same amount of knowledge that we can in an hour of gooling would take speaking to multiple experts on the subject, and combing through books looking for information. Information is so available to us nowadays that we take it for granted.
I don't agree with the whole idea of life logging. I. think in a way it takes up too much time for us to actually live. We are taking to much time thinking about life and how we should live, etc, than actually going out there and living without worrying about it. If we are supposed to remember something we will and vice versa. I obviously want to remember certain things but I can't remember everything with the way life works.
Something that has really stood out for me within these first two chapters was the benefits of technology. This is very evident to many people, but one thing that is less obvious is the fact that it is not 100% positive. For example, in the first chapter the "centaurs" were better than the all computer team in chess or in the second chapter the slight difficulty in finding the information that they recorded (34). This book is doing well at tying real world situations to the information they are trying to portray.
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