Brain augmentation.


Is it not smart to use the tools at your fingertips to get the answer you need rather than attempting to memorize all the knowledge you'll likely need? I think this article, and indeed, many people, are confusing "intelligence" or "smartness" with the ability to memorize and regurgitate.

The article cites knowledge of Latin and the ability to do quickly do mental math as examples of intelligence, when really they're the marks of good memorization and (in the case of latin) the mark of a good education for 1914. In our world, these are useful, but functionally unnecessary. Quick mental math is great, but the speed at which one can mentally calculate is rarely a life or death situation, especially when we have standalone calculators, or calculators on our phones, or a pencil and paper. Under duress, most of us can still do mental math, it just takes us longer, and I don't see that as a sign of "biological atrophy".

I think, in many ways, our "Human augmentation" is used mostly as a way to slough away all of the tasks which we dislike doing so we can focus on the things we either like to do, or need our full mental capacity to do or comprehend. Those who like math are usually pretty good at mental math (exceptions are everywhere, because humanity), those who love romance languages or roman / early gaulish history probably have a working knowledge of latin (as well as biologists, health care professionals and lawyers).

I don't see the augmentation as a specifically bad thing, but if you want to track down the beginning of it, you have to go further back than the 50's. it started out with the beginnings of writing. Before writing was common, you needed to memorize everything. people could recite "Beowulf", or the "Aeneid" from memory.

posted by flagamuffin: 1975 days ago