Monday, October 28, 2013

Balancing act

Here is a great article by Nicholas Carr in the Atlantic: All Can Be Lost: The Risk of Putting Our Knowledge in the Hands of Machines.  Carr talks about the tightrope we walk between letting technology do things for us and retaining the ability to become expert at doing things ourselves.

When you engage actively in a task, you set off intricate mental processes that allow you to retain more knowledge. You learn more and remember more. When you repeat the same task over a long period, your brain constructs specialized neural circuits dedicated to the activity. It assembles a rich store of information and organizes that knowledge in a way that allows you to tap into it instantaneously. Whether it’s Serena Williams on a tennis court or Magnus Carlsen at a chessboard, an expert can spot patterns, evaluate signals, and react to changing circumstances with speed and precision that can seem uncanny. What looks like instinct is hard-won skill, skill that requires exactly the kind of struggle that modern software seeks to alleviate.

As we struggle to find a balance for our kids and ourselves between the incredible positive effects of technology v.s. the myriad ways it isolates us from hands-on experience, this article provides an interesting viewpoint.  We can continue to explore together!

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