TED Conversations

Asha de Vos

Marine Biologist, The University of California Santa Cruz


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Technology doesn't kill the magic

I had an interview yesterday with fellow TED fellow Sanjana Hattotuwa and he asked me if I thought technology (citing the example of James Cameron's first solo descent) kills the magic. Does finding out more actually take away from the magic so to speak. I don't believe it does because the more technology allows us to delve into the unknown the more unknowns we find and therefore the more the magic grows. What are your thoughts on this?


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    Mar 29 2012: Getting to know more about something takes away a little of the mystery surrounding it. As Sanjana Hattotuwa pointed out, it will also serve to arouse our interest in the matter further. I believe that there will always be much more to learn than what we know.

    Here is an interesting video for you to watch -> http://www.ted.com/talks/marco_tempest_the_augmented_reality_of_techno_magic.html

    It mixes technology with illusions, resulting in an amazing presentation.
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      Mar 29 2012: Hi Gowtham -- Thanks for your response. i saw one of Marco's augmented reality presentations at this year's TED and while I thought it was cool...I did post a questions on TED conversations about whether that really was magic in its truest sense.

      I guess my point here is - does getting to know about something, or apparently familiarity really take away the mystery or does it enhance the mystery by giving you more unknowns. I think I am beginning to see that there are two schools of thought here. Those that would argue that it just increases the magic and those that argue that it takes away a bit....
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        Mar 29 2012: Actually Asha I don't propose it takes away the 'magic' as you see it. I am merely suggesting that greater access and the better clarity afforded by technology is no guarantee of engagement, learning and debate. The potential is there and indeed growing, the choice remains deeply personal. No argument from me against technology's greater use, adoption and adaptation, but just a caution against a heady optimism that - to use your example - sharing on FB, tweeting, blogging and uploading video on Cameron's dive - just by that fact, and over the longer term, strengthens our understanding and engagement with the wonders of deep sea science, and indeed, life on earth. Questions to consider, for me, are how we sustain interest, how we further real learning, how we nurture critical engagement, and how the magic you see, and want to share, can be best channeled through appropriate technology.
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          Mar 29 2012: don't disagree with you Sanjana -- sustaining the interest is a good question. all good questions and all things Christine Lee and I had a small facebook chat about just this morning. Yes how best to keep people engaged throughout their lives.....

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