This time, the purpose is training! Write a well-articulated essay, that is actually meaningful. The requirement is to debate the effect of technology in humans’ ability to think for themselves… So, here goes my writing:
“Today we live in a world of opportunities and discoveries that is unparalleled in history. Long gone are the days when the moon was a topic for the literally of poets. The sun itself is nowadays well defined and perceived as a series of chemicals and interactions that is well understood by high school students. Even the human body and its diseases, are well studied to the extent where precision medicine is seen to be only a couple of decades ahead in the road of civilization. In fact, Obama’s precision medicine initiative serves exactly this purpose, and it is already receiving positive responses and action plans from society and scientists alike. It is but technological advancements that has been the main driver and facilitator of this progress.
But at what cost? Surely, it is now possible to explore the unknown and integrate human knowledge from remote disciplines to gain new insights solving potent problems. Surely as well, this has been the vehicle of the current state of development. Debatable however, is the effect of the availability of these resources on the intelligence of the humans.
At essence this debate pertains to the definition of intelligence itself. If it is developing a solution from well known facts, then there is no issue. If it is using the knowns to explore unfamiliar territories then we are at the peak of human thinking. It is only when we confine intelligence to doing basic maths or geography that we begin to worry.
Easy access to compute devices in its various forms; PCs, ipads and calculators to name a few, means that we no longer need to actively memorize the multiplication table, or be able to carry out any complex mathematical problem. Even the exercise of navigating a new city no longer requires travelling with a map, or knowing the first thing about geography: all you need is to feed Google your destination, and not only will it show you the terrain, it will also provide voice commands instructing you to which direction to go.
But the curse of this easy access, is that while it is attainable, fundamentally, you need to have an idea -however rough- of which resources to consolidate, and be able to filter through the tons of resources at hand. It really means that a different skill set is needed for proper functioning in society, and in practical terms, this mental skill is what defines intelligence. This still counts today: in everyday life, science and industry, and will continue to be of paramount importance in the decades to come.
Therefore, it is fair to say that technology does not increase or decrease our ability to think. Rather, it challenges our ability to think creatively, and to build on existing knowledge to innovate and excel in the course of our life.”
So, How sold are you on the issue? Please do comment if this provokes you!