Humansys: The Change in Learning
There has even been worry over the SAT written essays, because students are growing so used to computer input.
Is it possible that we are seeing another great work-ethic shift, like the one Umberto Eco describes in his lecture on memory:
He recounts a conversation between Thalmus, Pharaoh of Egypt, and Theut, the talented inventor who has just developed writing, and with it, a method for memory which does not use the mind. After hearing the description of the new invention, Thalmus declares
"My skillful Theut," he said, "memory is a great gift that ought to be kept alive by continuous training. With your invention people will no longer be obliged to train their memory. They will remember things not because of an internal effort, but by mere virtue of an external device."
Obviously, writing has changed the human capacity for memory. The Greeks were legendary for their memory, sometimes giving oratory speeches for hours at a time, with no physical notes. Instead, they used complicated mental devices, like the Method of Loci, and others. With the advent of writing, an arguably superior, less complicated technology, these other methods were pushed out of use.
Is it possible that our rapid advancement in developing machines that increasingly shoulder, not only our memory requirements, but even some of our problem solving ones as well will have a similar effect on us this time around? Do we need to keep this in mind when designing products?
Geez, don't ask us. We're still getting used to this whole pencil and paper thing again.
Copyright 2004-2006 Dominic Muren and IDFuel Team