pat gilbert

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Does more technology decrease a person's ability?

Although we have unlimited information available instantly, can communicate instantly, create products with less labor at higher tolerances. It appears that people have less ability to focus and handle real world problems?

  • Apr 7 2012: In the spirit of thinking out-loud I guess it all depends on how you USE the technology and information you have at your fingertips. As examples, I'm posting a comment on TED and engaing in a debate with people that have differing viewpoints to myself, at the same time I have a tab open linking me to my favourite social network. I look at it quickly and see my friend has made an amusing comment about her night out on the town which I LOL at. Earlier on in the day I was exchanging top tips on child-care and home made toys (pool noodle lightsabres!) with a friend that I made only because of the internet in another country.
    I'm sipping home made nettle beer which I learned how to make from a recipe on a blog on the internet. A few weeks ago I helped a friend out of a debt crisis caused by identity theft and being persued by an unscruplous debt collecting agency because of being able to look up on a government website what the laws and regulations are.
    So I think the large, but certainly not unlimited, information on the internet can be very helpful in solving real world problems with which you are unfamiliar. The important thing is to be able to USE technology and not be DEPENDENT upon it. I guess I am lucky in some respects because, being 40+ but technologically literate, I am able to bridge the two 'worlds' the old and the new.
    I must say that my favourite piece of personal technology is a wind up torch. It's completely waterproof, you wind it up and using LEDs and lenses it produces a quite powerful light from that little trickle of electricity, a few minutes effort and you can hang it up in a tent while you are camping and it provides light nearly all night.
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      Apr 7 2012: "The important thing is to be able to USE technology and not be DEPENDENT upon it."

      And that is the rub by virtue of people becoming handicapped into a lower ability of communication it seems like this may become a permanent cultural lower level of communication and a permanent lower level of ability.
      focus = communication = education = control = production = ability
      • Apr 8 2012: I dont think it follows that people are handicapped into a lower ability of communication by having a more sophisticated means of technology that facillitates communication. I think it just takes time to adapt.
        Took a while for writing to become commonplace and displace the older oral/story telling tradition. Took a while after that for people to adjust to the new ideas and for libraries to form. Then when the printing press became commonplace it took a while for people to get used to that new flow of information, the density of information available and the new ideas that formed because of that.
        With the 'internet technologies' an increased flow of information and information density seems, to me at least, to be closing the loop back upon itself and a new narrative/storytelling culture is emerging. A lot of it seems on the face of it to be trivial but if you know where to look then everything that came before is available. I take your point that quantity of information does not equate to QUALITY of information.

        To modify your intuitive equation at the end of your reply I would say that: focus or control x communication x education(squared) = production or ability. People just need to be educated better or educate themselves better.

        Do you have any thoughts on how that could be achieved? Or do you disagree with my arguement and think I'm missing something here?
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          Apr 8 2012: Good point about written materials and there influence on communication.

          My point is that communication is the valuable commodity not particularly quantity of quality of information.

          If I were to sum it up differently I would say that knowledge is at the top, knowledge is proved out by the ability to apply, if can't be applied it is not knowledge (by the way this is the test for academic BS). At the bottom of communication is the ability to focus. I hope you are right about the adjustment period.

          So yea I think we agree.
      • Apr 8 2012: I dont think that knowledge needs to be applied in a practical sense to be knowledge. Does my understanding of art, literature and culture have any practical application. Nope. I like Shakespear rather than South Park, but South Park makes me laugh more. Practical aplication zero. Do I agree that academic BS = academic BS. Yes. So I would rather explore what we have in common rather than our differences and achieve a consensus. Yes I think we agree on something.
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          Apr 8 2012: I will have to disagree on that point regarding application, no application = no knowledge.

          Because of this I disagree with the rest of your statement as well. By definition art is communication as communication is the most valuable commodity in life I would say that art is very pragmatic in attaining communication. Think about this industrial designs, although I disagree with their mostly socialistic message what communicates better than a movie or a book, music inspires. Why are artists are so revered? Rarely does a politician get this sort admiration.

          I thought this was a debate? I do think we are communicating though?
  • Apr 5 2012: I'm gonna say YES... and that´s just and example:

    Years ago I knew the name of every album from my prefered bands, the number of the tracks I loved and the names... Now I'm trying to recommend to somebody this or that song or another and I can´t remember it, even the name of some of them has desapeared so it seems that I can´t have a conversation about it without a device or a connection close to me... and that... that is not good my friends... it seems that part of my memmory is somewhere else so I feel like it makes me less who I am...
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      Apr 5 2012: There was a fellow arguing before the Supreme Court of the U.S. last week on the most historic case in U.S. history. This guy was the most articulate speaker have ever heard his acuity was magnificent in other words he owned the court room. His name is Paul Clement. With lawyers you see the ubiquitous legal pad because they have to remember so much crap. Paul Clement was arguing the most historic case in the history of the U.S. and could not have done more superb job and he did it without any notes.
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    Apr 5 2012: Pat,

    I think technology, such as the internet, decreases personal ability .. but it increases social ability. We can do less on our own, but we can do far more in collaberation.

    Some technology enhances personal ability - such as medical prophelactics .. Cochlear, hip joints, antibiotics .. that kinda stuff .. but what of surveilance, weapons, stealth drones etc .. more ability for some, less for others.

    I think we risk losing ourselves with all the connectedness. Humans are not very good at maintaining full relationships with more than 200 people .. with ubiquitous comms, that limit is massively overloaded .. the 200 or so permanent relationships might disolve into general relationships .. there might be a risk of losing proper understanding of each other .. it may be that our empathy becomes diluted ... maybe it becomes more generalises and encompassing. THings are definitely changing .. but I don't think anyone truly knows where it's headed.

    If the internet stopped tomorrow .. it would be like having our legs chopped off.
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      Apr 5 2012: I see your point about potential regarding social ability. I question how much of that potential is realized.

      Nobody has dissuaded me from thinking that communication ability is diminished by the tech starting with the ability to concentrate.

      But I do agree with Krisztián that the culture is really the catalyst for allowing this. In other words the nanny state has taken away the need for responsibility to greater or lesser extent the apparent cause is the tech.
      • Apr 7 2012: I think some of that dormant social abilty could be realised through the internet allowing a more partcipatory style of democracy to develop on a local level if not on a global or national/regional level. Local internet referendums and local internet participatory councils for example would be an excellent idea to help with planning descions on the local level. I think it would answer the flaws of the 'nanny state' as participation on a local level would become in some sense mandatory. In order to scale that up to a more regional/global level would take time, probably a lot of it, because it would need a framework of agreed values. I think the UN and EU declarations of human rights is an early attempt at such a framework of agreed values and not a bad one at that. Alternatively the representative democratic institutions would serve quite well at that level as long as there was total transparency.
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          Apr 8 2012: I don't like that idea as it almost always gets exploited as we all follow our self interest which doesn't stop in government. An individual would inevitably game the system to his benefit and to the greater detriment.

          The one thing that keeps everyone accountable, everyone communicating, everyone focused to their own best advantage, everyone focused on serving the other fellow the best is the free market. No form of government can do anything to improve that.
      • Apr 8 2012: Co-operative behaviour can evolve out of selfish behaviours. Enlightened self interest causes that and game theory, where every individual tries to game the system to their own best advantage, predicts that systems can evolve to do that. Otherwise we would not have evolved our current systems of government out of our tribal self interests. Humans are social creatures, with an inbuilt evolved system of morality. We will and do co-operate because we can see that it is in our own selfish best interest to co-operate with like minded individuals.
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          Apr 8 2012: I will have put the point about Enlightened self interest under category of academic bs.

          What caused the evolution of our systems of society is really a very well known and accepted practice of comparative advantage.

          http://www.ted.com/talks/matt_ridley_when_ideas_have_sex.html

          But to assume that individuals are going to turn into angels because they ascend into power is not true. They have and will game the situation to their own advantage at the expense of others.

          IMO politicians will do ANYTHING to stay in power which has them constantly on the hunt. The use the straw man to further their interest and will pass laws that will have detrimental effects on their country to the point of destroying it over the long haul but have capital in the short term for their reelection.

          That is the negative side of politics of, you can't have the negative without the positive, there have been some great ones as well Margaret Thatcher, Winston Churchill, George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, etc.
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        Apr 10 2012: I think the concentration /attention span thing is pivotal with the online revolution. I feel that there needs to be some new behavioural customs develop to compensate... And I suppose it will.
        We are seeing a profound state-shift transition that no one can really put their finger on until it's done. But there are signs that it is accelerating .. and will probably be a done deal before anyone can stop it.
        I don't support the old time religion of legislating every spec of dust .. I totally agree that every rule creates 3 things, winners, losers and cheats .. and more than often, teh rules are being invented by cheats for cheats .. I don't like that much because it has the affect of increasing noise, and the whole idea of communication is to reduce noise ..

        Policy would work better if it was never written down .. then people could concentrate on playing by the seat of their pants - we seem to be good at that.
        I'd like to see fun re-prioritised.

        Here's a funny thing to look for:
        When the sun is at a certain height in teh sky, all the lonesome texters stand facing in the same direction to cast a shadow on their little screens .. it makes them look like Easter Island statues - cracks me up!
        At least it's better than when people were talking into their hands-free phones - like they were lunatics talking to themselves .. I found that disturbing, specially when I thought some stranger wanted me to reply.
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    Apr 4 2012: we cannot tell;yeah,it decreases our ability,exactly.but;it is main affect to lose our speech ability,reading ability and also communication ability.for example;we dont talk about our close friend's problems.we dont read any book,we are using mobile,internet and watching tv.we,especiaaly young generation forfot the smell of the books.yeah,it decreases our ability.
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    Apr 4 2012: 1st you should clearly define ability , what is ability ?

    2nd about focus , I think one of the biggest issues right now in the modern world is noise , too much noise....and by noise I mean unwanted unexpected info that all of a sudden seems interesting , grabs our attention and time.

    Noise is paralyzing , doing hundred things at once and not getting one done, its like hitting a nail with a hammer but so very gently , the force of hundred hits might add up to the same amount of energy needed to push it through but it won't , Focus is like one mighty hit that gets the job done, and hopelessly we can not focus now a days .

    Oddly enough , about 7 months ago we had a conversation here on TED that Julian Treasure had started , in one of my comments I said in todays world we do not have dialogues, Its " Dialogue on demand " I was kinda shocked when I saw this TALK , its exactly about the very same thing.

    http://www.ted.com/conversations/6084/ted_speaker_julian_treasure_w.html
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      Apr 4 2012: Ability is just the capacity to do stuff, to get er done.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lrbyvmfHG4g

      I read some of what Julian had to say and yup that is what I mean. The first step to communication is focus. As everyone knows communication is everything. I mean if you had to make your way through life reinventing the wheel on everything it might be kind of tough but if on the other hand you can communicate the opportunity is great. Focus is an ability that one acquires like anything else through practice. As you point out the world is not conducive to this.
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        Apr 5 2012: well if ability is doing stuff for sure Technology can do that, it has a systematic mandate that you have to follow and when you do that you are able to do it , no doubt .

        But I highly doubt that a device or being able to work with it , can make us able to live a better life , or be happier.

        I think the first ability that any modern affluent citizen needs to learn is the ability to Prune noise and focus.

        Laser is a focused light and for sure if scattered can not do much , I think modern citizens need to be more like a Laser and less like a Lantern
  • Apr 9 2012: Sorry there, I misunderstood what you meant by application. I thought you were implying that only knowledge with concrete, physical results could truly be classed as knowledge. My bad.

    In debates I have a tendency to approach things almost as if it were a diplomatic effort and try and achieve a consensus. Hmm I hadn't realised that was the way I approached debates before. So I guess that I have learned something important about myself from our communication here :)

    Why are artists so revered but politicians rarely achieve this? Maybe because artists can appeal to us on an instinctive/intuitve level that politicians can rarely reach. I can only conclude that for all their rhetoric and public speaking tradecraft most politicians just aren't very good at their jobs compared to an artist. What a depressing if not surprising thought! Though certain political ideas such as socialism, capitalism, right and left wing etc do have a very strong appeal perhaps in the same way that certain genres of fiction or music do. I suppose that it's all to do with individual interpretation of the ideas.

    Maybe it's the same with technology? My two year old son is able to pick up his mothers touch-screen phone and figure out how to manipulate it because thats a very intuitive interface. Fooled by this when he first climbed up to my computer he was touching the desktop icons on the screen, it took him a while to realise that bashing the keyboard and playing with the mouse is somehow important and he still doesn't get how to use it properly though he has seen me use it (obviously I dont expect him to).

    Perhaps as the interface with technology becomes more easy and intuitive we start to understand it less and rely on it more. Scary thought.
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      Apr 9 2012: The reason artists are revered is because of their ability to communicate. A Steinbeck had a great ability to communicate what was going through the characters head in his books, A Meryl Streep has a great ability to communicate what was going through a characters head, The Beatles had a tremendous ability to communicate an idea, A good teacher has the ability to communicate to a student and give the student knowledge.

      Communication is the most valuable commodity there is, just a fact.
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    Apr 8 2012: Ouch!!!!! I agree we must not be distracted from what is important and in each of your ancedotal stories it seems that the important was lost in the immediate. I believe that book was by Alvin Toffler but if I am wrong please correct me.
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    Apr 8 2012: That is a tough one. I work with students and even with loads of tech. they still do not turn in homework on time, do quality work, and /or have an interest in school. Maybe it is more the product of too many choices that distract or a school system that still comes from the agrarian roots of our country.Maybe the industrial revolution has happened to the body of people but not to the mind?
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      Apr 8 2012: There was a book a while back called the 3rd wave that explored some of what you are talking about. The 1st wave being agriculture the 3rd wave being the computer revolution. You make a good point.

      It seems to me there has to be some way to get the focus back as I think that is key. Couple anecdotal stories.

      Someone came up to me the other day stating that is was imperative that she talk to me about an urgent matter then asked her question then proceeded to text someone while I answered.

      I watched a lady pull onto the street but was unable to make her left hand turn because of traffic coming from her right. Meanwhile another lady talking on her cell phone had about 1/2 a block to respond yet slammed into the other car without touching her brakes.

      I think the question is the answer people are not focusing on what they are doing so the solution is to learn to focus, prior to focusing you have to say focus on what? Once again the question is the answer which is lean how to determine what is important and then focus on that.

      Maybe this is another step in our evolution?
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    Apr 7 2012: People freak out without their ipad, ipod, cell phone, kindle, laptop, blue tooth, and remote so they don't need to get off the couch. Maybe if Siri (IPHONE 4) didn't exist, we would be able to keep track of our responsibilities.
  • Apr 7 2012: I think the technology grant changes in "getting use to do XX when you need to do YY". In my opinion, using technology (or at least the results of it) demands you to do something. If we need to communicate with a person far away, some technology want you to write a letter with pen. If you need to use them again , you have to repeat the process; you have to bring your pen again and again. We adapt to their wants, if sending a letter requires us to hit the keys about a decade later, if we still have a need to communicate we have to get use to it all over again.

    Maybe the lastest XX was a inefficient thing to do YY. Maybe some ability gainings are unintended by-product from extended use of it (e.g: Weight loss, Fatigue resistance, Muscles, Improved concentration). So maybe the newer XX doesn't have these, I don't think that the technology have developed with a malice. Inventors, scientists or someone who works on them ought to wanted us to handle real world problem easier, not to lose our ability as we use their results of setbacks and breakthroughs.
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    Apr 6 2012: I think the only abilities we need to have in ourselves is imagination, and the skills to use the tools we create. We are not using stones and sticks anymore. We now create tools with tools, inheriting older technologies as we go. As long as we can use these tools, and keep creating better ones, we should be fine.
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      Apr 7 2012: The main tool that we need is communication, if nothing more than as you say communication with our imaginations, not by technology but by the transference of an idea. The technology paradoxically has lowered the real level of communication. Can this result in a long term handicap?
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        Apr 7 2012: You are right about communication being our primary tool. Without it we are nothing.

        Take a look at how fast we adapted to technological changes. Mobile devices are about a decade old and already they have changed us drastically. But technology is changing just as fast. We are not locked in to the devices we have now. We will quickly adapt to newer technologies that will fit our communicative functions.

        The devices that have changed us are still new. Possibly these changes can be a guideline for future innovation. We see the problem, now is time to develop solutions.
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          Apr 7 2012: I guess what I fear more is the how this affects the culture as it paradoxically becomes less communicative.
  • Apr 5 2012: No, I can say with absolute confidence that more technology does not decrease a person's ability. The simple fact that tachnology makes things easier to accomplish tasks allows us to spend more time finding the next step rather than relearning the first step with each new generation. Just look at how fast we have developed since we started to document things.

    This leap frogging effect of benefitting from past generation development only becomes a bad thing if we stop documenting the steps or the steps are lost. Not documenting the steps of the discover will never happen. Now, let's pretend that in 30 years in the future the Internet crashes and all digital life is suddenly gone. Let's also pretend that for the last 20 years everything was documented digitally. The last 20 years of development is now lost forever unless you are one of the people who understood the development of the steps during the lost 20 year. In this situation, yes, technology decreased individual ability.

    So, what I'm saying is only in the event of lost technology is a person's ability hindered.
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      Apr 5 2012: I'm not sure I agree. As I think that focus and genuine communication are the foundation of ability, cell phones email and especially texts fetter genuine communication.
  • Apr 5 2012: I do not think tha the technology decreases a person's ability.

    The worst danger of the technology on our learning and working habit is that it might make us lazy.

    Is the lazyness that, then, could damage a person's ability. With all the available resourses, we can start to work less hard, and to not use all the potential we have.

    But this will not be a direct consequence of the technology, I think that this will be the direct consequence of the education on how to use the technology.
  • Apr 5 2012: Pat,
    "...people have less ability to focus and handle real world problems "
    I think you are right .
    Technology develops abilities to cope with technology and creates problems we don't know how to deal with.
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      Apr 5 2012: The further you are removed from something the easier it is to pretend it does not need to handled?
  • Apr 5 2012: I can't help but notice that Turkle's talk title is in the form of a question.......perhaps she is just as perplexed as many of us about technology and its pros and cons...

    I think, like with anything in life, balance is the key...

    My humble observations. Good topic of debate. I am not much of a debater, but I offer this simple thought.

    Thank you
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      Apr 5 2012: all things in moderation? Lot of truth to that.
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    Apr 5 2012: The web is the latest "Cliff's Notes". Technology can be a giant asset to the researcher. There is no longer a need to hit the library for hours and dig through the stacks. There are some of course that will be the modern lazy man and go through his education without an original thought or opening a book. Technology is a tool and is neither good or bad but available to those who wish to benefit from it or exploit it.
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      Apr 5 2012: Me thinks that the more things change the more they stay the same.
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    Apr 4 2012: "Real world problems" ??? as opposed to what?

    Our environment is what it is now, and our abilities are mesured in how adapted we are to it.
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      Apr 4 2012: As opposed to academic, hypothetical, trivial problems that are more made up for an agenda than real.

      Yes I have heard that before the environment is in control and we have to acquiesce to it we need to be obsequious to it, sorry but that is 180 degrees backwards. Anything worth a damn was created by changing the environment to suit us.
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        Apr 5 2012: I don't understand your point.

        I thought the 'agenda" was defined as the only environment that matters.
        Again, I must ask, what are the "real" problems set by the "real" environment?

        The tiger's stripes are made up for a hunting agenda, it seems. Problems are always hypothetical and trivial. What is the use for stipes in a zoo?
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        Apr 5 2012: I mean that I don't understand the distinction between "real world problems" and "trivial problems made up for an agenda".
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          Apr 5 2012: The other day on NPR they were saying that you don't hear about acid rain anymore since the government no longer makes money available to study it. This is one example of many many of a "problem" that is not really a problem in other words the problem is created in order for someone to earn money from the created problem. Politicians are the biggest abusers of this in order to gain votes. Al Gore made a lot of money off of global warming, albeit there is apparently global warming however to jump to conclusions about it's cause is ABSURD.
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    Apr 4 2012: do you mean without technology we are lost, or even with? because it is kinda natural that if you have an aid, soon you become less able to do things without the aid. but at the same time, you are more able with the aid.

    i don't even remember how to organize a meeting without mobile phones. but with mobile phones, i can organize a meeting much better than we did back then without them. so cellphones might impair my organizing abilities, they actually increased my organizing potential.

    similarly, they might lose ability to solve certain "real life problems", but maybe because they don't need to? just like i can't hunt my lunch with a spear. but i don't care, i can buy meat in the supermarket.

    i doubt that the total output of a human being could ever go down with a new piece of technology. in this case, we just wouldn't put that piece at use.
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      Apr 4 2012: I don't have a set view on this, I'm thinking out loud. I think it is the very purpose of man to overcome his environment so I don't question the value of technology.

      I think the ability to concentrate is a prerequisite to anything.

      The idea of multitasking is specious in that you are really doing many things for a short period of time.

      If you watch a video or television then your ability to imagine is not used as this is already done for you.

      Has the amount of important information gone up proportionate to people's volume of texts? I doubt it. Which makes me wonder if people have lost the ability to determine what is important and what is trivial.

      IMO the test of anything is in it's application is the ability to apply lost in the large volume of input of communication and the responses.

      Does communication itself as the speaker said become atrophied? Before you can communicate you have to have someones attention, they have to hear and understand what you are saying, and you have to know that they understood what you have said. Without this production becomes impossible.
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        Apr 4 2012: i believe there is a natural selection of behavior, provided that we don't create societies that suppress responsibility. so if people become less able to deal with their problems, solutions to that will naturally emerge.

        in ancient greece, there was a notion that books are destroying thinking, because young people won't need to learn the texts, they can just read them. maybe they worried about the memorizing skills of the upcoming generations. maybe they were actually right, i can't remember a thing. but i don't exactly care.
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          Apr 4 2012: Your point about societies is well taken. If you remove the responsibility factor it becomes that much easier to indulge in the technology.
    • Apr 5 2012: Krisztian,
      We need mobile phones, because we've created the reality where we need mobile phones. :)

      And talking about ancient Greece...Socrates didn't write a word ( Plato did ), viewing a word as an image of truth, not the truth itself. Memorizing skills was not his concern, I guess, he cared about the truth and the capacity of upcoming generation to perceive it.
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        Apr 5 2012: but i like this new reality.

        and i also like books, and disagree with socrates.
        • Apr 5 2012: Good for you ! But the reality you like is moving in the direction to become a reality, you probably won't like.
          Are you breathing ? You'd better learn not to. And it's only slightly exaggerated.:)
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          Apr 5 2012: Krisztián

          Yet I notice that you often employee the Socratic method?
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        Apr 5 2012: don't be so pessimistic. read the rational optimist:

        http://www.rationaloptimist.com/

        to get a brighter vision
        • Apr 5 2012: Krisztian, thanks for the link !
          I am confused , do we inhabit the same world ? :)
          But the ending of the article ' keep on changing ' sounds good, I am on board !
          I have serious doubts though, that we mean the same thing, talking about change.
          Krisztian, I am interested , what is the change that can turn the tide ? I would like to hear your opinion.
          Thank you.
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          Apr 5 2012: natasha

          You say the glass is half empty, Krisztián says half full

          Your right.
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        Apr 5 2012: natasha, dunno what tide that is. i don't see any catastrophes to come anytime soon. i do see reversal in the trend of increasing freedom. fear took over, and fear leads to crazy power going to the hands of leaders. i feel that a hopefully smaller version of the 20's is happening. when masses lost hope and future, so they exalted powerful dictators that promised order and change. the worse things became, the more power people granted to leaders. the madness led to the second world war with all its terror.

        it does not seem that we learned the lesson. we are still going to give up our freedom for a little hope in return. and surely there are candidates to serve that need.

        it is our responsibility to say no to that. and to say yes to the future.
        • Apr 6 2012: Hi,Krisztian !

          I am not in a doom-and-gloom business here either, Pat just wrongly took it, defining me as a pessimist.
          Not to delegate your responsibilities to a government, or a leader, or...to anybody, actually is a right thing to do, always ,whatever the time you happen to live in.Life is a very personal thing, yet nobody is an island we are all connected , deeply connected, not via mobile phones or any other technical device, but mentally, spiritually or 'quantum mechanically'.Choose any realm you are familiar with, all lead to the same conclusion. When we grasp, truly understand this new/ old age wisdom it brings the change we need, from within, all the rest will fallow. I truly believe so.

          And 'the tide has turned 'is a metaphor widely recognised in narrow circles :) I can ntroduce you to it. It is taken from these words from Lynn Twist :

          " When the tide turns in the ocean it turns way down deep where no one can see. And then it takes some time before it rises to the surface and then you see the tides turning."

          Not that I fully share her ideas , but i like the metaphor. " The Soul of Money " is the book , I haven't read it and most likely won't, but maybe you will, I guess, it's your domain :) . Check out here http://www.soulofmoney.org/about/about-the-book/excerpts/

          Have a nice day !
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        Apr 5 2012: pat, i didn't know what socratic method is, so i looked up. i think we don't need a name for that. it is just the right way of thinking, isn't it? that's just my opinion anyways.
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          Apr 5 2012: It is a method of teaching by questioning as opposed to a more pedantic method, yea I think it has earned a name.
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        Apr 6 2012: natasha, my question was actually a real one. what tide? many people have fear about some bad things coming or believe that we need radical change. but the actual nature of the perceived threat varies greatly. some fear climate change, others fear running out of resources, wars, yet others claim that society is about to collapse as we "degenerate" in some way, socially or other. hence my question, what is your tide to turn?
        • Apr 7 2012: Krisztian !
          Thank you for asking and sorry for the delay with my response, I was not wired yesterday :)
          Correct me if i am wrong... Your question can be fashioned like this: what scares me ? What is the worst case scenario I am afraid of? Or even- what can presumably cause my own demise ?
          OK...I am not scared, not even close. Not because I don't see the reason ( I do !) but because I don't see any way how fear could possibly help and quite aware that what we fear the most becomes a reality sooner or later. It precisely the way how it works. So, I do fear nothing on this scale.
          But ...it is not the point.
          ' The tide' is not a threat, it's a metaphor for , let's say , a motion, which is beyond judgment. It is not good or bad, it's all about dynamics. If you are interested, I can share with you my thoughts it can lead directly to the topic in current conversation. Actually, nothing is off topic in any conversation :)
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        Apr 7 2012: well, natasha, i need to fail on this question of yours then, namely "what is the change that can turn the tide". since i don't know what problems you fear, i can't tell why they won't happen. can i? :)
        • Apr 7 2012: Maybe you can, but it'll cost you a lot ( 'a lot' is my favourite number) :) Sorry, just kidding.
          Seriously, I appreciate your concern, but to prove, that any calamity , listed in your previous comment, won't happen, takes you a great deal of time, unless you have a Crystal ball.
          As to my experience when I go into details, they multiply exponentially with no foreseeable end. But it's me , maybe you can, let's test it via a simple trial.
          Take the 'hot' issue : ice is still melting and melting fast. What are the possible consequences ?

          Please, make no mistake, I am not scared and need no consolation , I am interested how through logic reasoning and evidence one can draw a self consistent balanced picture of a possible positive outcome.
          Thank you !
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        Apr 8 2012: natasha, logic i think is the last thing you need to answer such questions. there nothing logical about our future being dark or bright. its more a factual question, and it is quite complex. indeed, they tend to explode exponentially with depth.

        being an engineer, i understand science and technology better than the average fella. this also helps. but i actually spend a great deal of my time reading blogs and articles i find informative. blog writers are the persons that actually understand a field, and can deliver in a way you can understand without specific expertise. so we should use them.

        i have already gave you the link to ridley. here is another: mark lynas. also have a blog worth reading: http://www.marklynas.org/
        • Apr 9 2012: Hi, Krisztian,
          I think, we are moving to the common ground here and it is the most natural thing, for there is never two grounds anywhere :)
          You said: "logic is the last thing....it's more a factual question " , What are facts ? There is no such thing as an uninterpreted fact.To interpret a fact and put it in the cause-effect sequence is exactly what logic is all about. And I agree with you logic is the last thing... What is the first ? Not too many options here, human brain is notoriously known as divided organ into two hemispheres, left and right, intuitive and logical mind.And both are involved in both. To find any solution to the problem big or small we'd better rely on intuition and find the way how logic can support it. Or logic reasoning can push us to intuitive insight. There is no point where one stops and another begins, the movement is not line-like, but spiral, if one is good in using both. Your basic education and reading blogs and articles is helpful, no doubt, but not to be drowned in data,( the amount of these is increasing relentlessly with every passing day ) you need Intuition to guide you.To put pieces together, to see the bigger picture and to feel the flow, the tide. Simply don't deny it.:)
          Thanks for the response and links !
          Have a nice day !
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    Apr 4 2012: Increase in technology means an increase in how much we are able to sense from the world around us, so in basic it's a good thing. However, you might argue that advances in communication technology and to technology that takes away the need for human processing, for example the calculator, creates deficiency in attributes which we considered normal for millennia, but is this really true. If these technologies allow us to focus on other aspects of our being, our creativity to find problems, is it then really so bad? A persons ability is not something that can be measured, everyone have the approximate same capabilities if we bring it back to non-nature (genetics) standards. So if someone does not learn how to calculate thing A, does this mean his ability doesn't allow him to, or is it because he can be more productive by utilizing the technologies given to him?

    In the end it all depends on your notion of ability, what do you think is more valuable? The gift to reprocess/create information readily available, or being able to use that information to suit ones needs.
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      Apr 4 2012: But does the tech in fact create more focus or less? A person's ability can and is measured willy nilly. In my experience not everyone has the same abilities that is the egalitarian trope, that is just not true. The bottom line is in the person's ability to produce something of value.
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        Apr 4 2012: Focus on what? Self-development? Business? On the overall I think that over the course of time focus is something that is ever changing, technology only gives us the opportunity to do things we never thought were possible or at least help make things easier, leaving us with more time.
        • Apr 5 2012: Kevin,
          Sorry, but it is an illusion we should part with :)
          Our free time is consumed by the very gadgets that help us to have it.
          "Men have become the tools of their tools."
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          Apr 5 2012: Focus on the hocus pockus