Friday, January 16, 2009

Its negative 11... brrrr

I have less then one month to go before I'm done with my VISTA year and today is a day I'm very happy I'll be moving to a warmer climate.

The -11 today, was -3 yesterday and theres frost inside the windows of my car. To top it all off our heater, that has never heated the house about 55, is actually, literally and really broken. Needless to say I'm probably spending the long weekend crashed at someone elses house, someone who has heat.

All but one of the Speakers Bureau Participants will have given a speech by the end of the month and the last volunteer appreciation event is taking place on Feb 4th.

Its nice to have everything lined up and rolling for the rest of my year of service and know where I'm going when I'm done.

I was hired last month by Tri-Delta and I will be a part of the communications team beginning the first day in March. All I have left to do is find somewhere to live so if anyone knows anyone renting a room / needing a roomate in the Dallas - Fort Worth area let me know.

I'll miss Indianapolis, my new friends, the art museum, living in the same city as Leo and everything else I've found I love about being here, but right now an average temp of 50 in the winter, plus everything else, looks really promising.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Ok Larry Page, haven’t you watched Terminator?

Imagine the G-800, a metal exoskeleton that is transported to the past to protect Conner Johns, because the G-801, who looks a crap ton like the Governator, wants to make sure he doesn’t grow up. Maybe that’s just my imagination getting away from me.

Google was launched in 1997 by a Larry Page and Sergey Brim who at the time probably had no idea that 11 years later their ‘math equation’ would have a profound effect on research, marketing, communication, etc. They clearly didn’t watch a lot of Terminator when they decided that the search engine they created could potentially ‘learn’ from all of the information we input into it.

Now they’ve launched the “G1, Android.” Does that sound a bit too much like the T-800 that chased Sarah Connor through a fictional 1984?

Now honestly I’m not into the whole conspiracy theory thing but really it’s a creepy coincidence considering that Larry Page actually stated he wants Google to eventually become a form of artificial intelligence.

“The ultimate search engine is something as smart as people—or smarter,” Page said in a speech a few years back. “For us, working on search is a way to work on artificial intelligence.” In a
2004 interview with Newsweek, Brin said, “Certainly if you had all the world’s information directly attached to your brain, or an artificial brain that was smarter than your brain, you’d be better off.” Last year, Page told a convention of scientists that Google is “really trying to build artificial intelligence and to do it on a large scale.” Is Google Making Us Stupid? - Nicholas Carr

Plus did you know that Google 411 is actually being used to gather information for voice recognition soft wear development. Too creepy for me so I refuse to use it. I don’t need skynet knowing what I sound like.

I stumbled across the article that spawned all of this after reading Beth Kanter’s blog post about how social media has changed the way our minds work.

To an extent I agree with Kanter. It’s particularly obvious when comparing the how a 10 year old and a 60 year old learn how to operate and electronic gadget. Children are being brought up in this technological world and as a result have a much easier time figuring it all out, which leads to the possibility that technology is changing how our minds work and store information.

Carr’s article questions if Google and other similar technology is in essence making us dumber. Carr sites specifically how difficult is has become for many people to practice in depth reading, because blog posts and tag lines have been designed to be read quickly and without much thought.

I can’t remember phone numbers because they are all stored in my phone. Does that mean I don’t know how to memorize a phone number? No.

The accessibility of technology is changing world views and social conceptions but I don’t think it’s limiting our intelligence.

We need to continue to practice skills to keep them intact. Reading a journal article and interpreting the research is no different from riding a bike. If you don’t attempt it for a while you’ll be rusty and you’ll need practice but your brain hasn’t forgotten how to fire those synapses unless you never learned it in the first place.

What it comes down to is we need to be a little less dependent on Google or Wikipedia and we need to remember that knowledge is only gathered when you work for it.

And Google, I’m watching you.