Nugget #3: Augmenting Human Intellect

“Let us consider an augmented architect at work. He sits at a working station that has a visual display screen some three feet on a side; this is his working surface, and is controlled by a computer (his “clerk”) with which he can communicate by means of a small keyboard and various other devices.”

Is it just me or does this almost sound like someone interacting with Pandora? Perhaps I was looking too hard to find a connection. My last nugget referred to man-computer symbiosis and the amount of technology behind the music facet of Pandora, which later shifted into the advertisements facet of Pandora. Let’s say we change a couple of words in this passage: Let us consider an augmented listener in his car. He sits at the steering wheel with his phone on the center console; this is his music system, and is controlled by a computer with which he can communicate by means of a skip button and various other devices.

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Woah. So here’s the idea of Pandora, a form of technology, working with man again. But is this really a substantial form of interaction? Pandora, a man-made composite of music and advertisements, chooses a song or commercial whenever needed. So what? Is man really interacting with it, or just telling it what to do? The technology behind these choices is not so dense that Pandora could fire all of its employees and it would still remain successful. But I’m compelled to say that this is an interaction nonetheless, and the idea of man and computer interacting is still somewhat meaningful. Although Pandora doesn’t necessarily augment human intellect today, maybe music and technology could merge together to do that. So many people already turn to music to help them think or relax or generally find a new state of mind; the growing rate of technology with music popularity will surely come up with something.

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EDIT

The KahnQuest’s nugget post brought some different insight to the interaction between technology and man. He says, “Let’s go back about 400 years. That’s around Jamestown times, right? Back then did they have the abilities to create a modern sort of technology? Let’s say a car. Yes and no.” In my nugget above, I said that Pandora currently does not augment human intellect. Is that because we are not at that point of innovation yet? This is quite an interesting idea – that this “interaction” between Pandora and its listeners is only slightly meaningful today, but it will grow in the right time and place. It is hard to believe that no one is capable of coming up with technology to achieve this today, but then again there is presumably no need for it yet, just like cars about 400 years ago.

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Sara had a somewhat similar point of view. In her nugget, she discusses the small steps needed to take to achieve large technological developments. We can’t go from today’s Pandora, a man-made composite of songs and advertisements, directly into an Internet radio system that works independently and ‘augments’ its listeners. Just like the human brain, technology improves upon itself little by little to achieve great things over time, such as cars.

Jamie might have wrapped up all of these thoughts best. In her nugget, she says, “Though breakthroughs and completed projects appear to an observer as a sudden exponential acquisition of knowledge, these strides are the offspring of a long grueling lineage of learning, practice, and sturdy foundations of knowledge graciously built by the culture and minds of past innovators.” Pandora itself is the result of a process, not an overnight invention. I tend to forget how relatively new it actually is. Sure, there is minimal interaction between Pandora and its listeners today, but this symbiosis will surely become stronger in time.

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One response to “Nugget #3: Augmenting Human Intellect

  1. jmc8qv

    I love the way you’ve spun your Engelbart nugget around to your interest in Pandora. Great clipart too.

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