Formerly SpringBlog

Sunday, February 27, 2011

What's the Future of Computers?

Chapter 3 of Morville’s Ambient Findability, was in my opinion very interesting because the issues that were discussed are extremely relevant in today’s society. The internet provides accessibility to information to almost anyone. Decades ago this was not possible; in this chapter Morville touches on how people used to have to retrieve information by using punch cards in libraries, and my first reaction to reading this was that I am glad we don’t have to do that anymore, the internet has saved us, but as I read more into the chapter and Morville began discussing Mooers point of view on information, I began to change my mind. As I reflected on the many times I have used the internet to find answers I realized that it isn’t that efficient. There have been times while writing research papers when I have tried to use google, but it never works. Instead I find myself reading through non legitimate trash. Somebody in class made a great point by stating that google is great for entertainment purposes and quick answers for things like repairing a water heater. I couldn’t agree more with that statement. In my opinion the internet and google do have their benefits and I have personally found them very useful when searching for non academic issues, example: Who was in the Superbowl in 1977. But when it comes to really gaining an understanding on a subject that is worth studying than the internet can be extremely inconvenient, probably more inconvenient than what using the punch card system would be.

Even though I agree with Mooers point of view on information, I don’t think that the problem with the internet is necessarily that there is too much information on it. As I stated earlier it is very easy for one to spend hours reading through garbage that may not be legitimate. If only google pulled us just academic databases for us when doing research. But then what would we do when needed a quick answer about how to change the oil in our car, we don’t need a scholarly article for that. This is real the problem about the internet, it’s too messy, sloppy, and unorganized. It’s not as much that there is too much information on the internet; it’s that it’s not organized efficiently.

Enter Watson; last week I watched one of the episodes of Jeopardy where two humans played against IBM’s Watson, their innovative computer. Watson played against the two humans for three days and every day he beat them. After reading Morville’s chapter 3, I couldn’t help but think about the episode of Jeopardy I watched with Watson on it. I was very impressed with how fast and precise the computer was. The speed and accuracy of the computer answering a diverse amount of questions was amazing. This relates very much to the chapter 3. So, my question is will Watson help the information overload problem that many of us can relate to like Mooers.

I personally think Watson will definitely improve the preciseness and accuracy of using computers to find information, but it’s hard to say if we will ever reach a point where computers can tell us exactly what we want to know. And that brings me to my next issue, which relates more to the article we read at the beginning of the semester about google making us stupid, will it be good for us to be able to get every answer we need from a computer. Now we’ve all seen those movies where technology takes over the world and things like that, but I’m not talking about that. I’m talking about; will we become too dependent on computers to find the answers for us? I do think computers contribute to us being lazy and impatient and therefore it is my hope that the accuracy and preciseness of our searches online do improve so that when I want to know how to change the spark plugs in my car I may be given very explicit and useful answers so I can master that craft, but not have the computer be so advanced where I expect it to do it for me while I sit in my living room and watch TV. So to wrap this up because I know I’ve hit on many different subjects I will try and summarize my main points. I agree with Mooers that have too much information can be an inconvenience and google is a great example of this. What the internet needs is to be organized more efficiently so it is more useful to us, but as a side thought I think it is important to keep in mind that the internet and computers do not become so advanced in their ability to give us answers that humans become entirely dependent on them.

1 comment:

  1. I kind of wrote about the same thing...the internet is a great tool, but I think we should take some more initiative in finding information in different ways instead of always relying on the internet to find it for us. I think Watson is a great idea, and it really proves the expansion of science and technology, but then I wonder if we will ever have to do things with our own minds after technology can do them for us.