Google Not; Learn Not Reflection

I agree with the article’s sentiments of learning in the digital age, and it also provides a feeling relief to my own coding experiences.  I believe that people have always adopted a tradition of memorizing syntax and knowledge in general, originating from well before knowledge was readily available at the fingertips of learners and those who sought knowledge.  Even in the days of books and texts being the primary resource for learning, it was difficult to locate specific answers.  Now, however, ion the digital age, search engines have evolved to be able to answer almost any question one may have immediately, if they have internet access.  This has the ability to save vast reserves of brainpower, but people hold onto the “requirement” that one must memorize facts, such as programming syntax.

Personally, I have felt defeated before when I have had to look up code.  After doing this and reading this article, however, I have realized that programming has very little to do with memorizing syntax, as it is not a spoken language like English.  Rather, the goal of a programmer is to break down a problem into smaller ones that can be accomplished by a line of code, using brainpower for understanding and solving the problem rather than memorizing the characters for executing one’s solution.  Thus, I agree with the article when it says brainpower should reserved for the true aspects of coding.


Click here to view my algorithm.

This code segment acts as an algorithm because it takes an input of an array, loops through it, and produces an output based on logic and math within.  As the algorithm loops through an array of color strings, each color runs through a logic test.  The first “if” statement checks to see if the string says “red.”  If this is true, the variable of points is incremented by 5.  If false, the color string then passes to the “elif” statement, testing if it is “green.”  If true, “points” is increased by 10.  Lastly, if the string is neither “green” nor “red,” it passes to the “else” statement, increasing “points” by 20.  This is because there is only one other possible string, “blue.”  This is useful to my code because it takes an array of colored aliens that a player kills, and automatically produces a total score after looping through all of them.

MIT Press: Technological Changes

As I read through the MIT Press article, there were some items of which I was already knowledgeable.  However, I was surprised by the quantity of items that seemed obvious after reading them but which I had neglected to pick up on.  An example of this was the subcategory The Internet of Things.  This looked at the big picture of the technological world and how everything is now linked via the internet.  It mentions not only the well-acknowledged, such as cell phones and televisions, but now also cars, refrigerators, thermostats, and a plethora of other devices commonly disassociated with digital technology.  This connection is dangerous, as it is stated in the article, as this much interweaving of more and more components of one’s everyday life can lead to “massive vulnerability.”

One topic I happened upon during my Explore task which coincided with the article’s information is deep machine learning (or simply “machine learning”), which is the process of programming a machine with an algorithm that allows it to extensively analyze immense group of data to find critical patterns and differences to develop a “pseudo-artificial intelligence.”  With this a machine can predict future data using extrapolation techniques and identify patterns and components of current data with greater accuracy than humans.  The article again takes a larger look at this area of technology by identifying the major yet subtle shift in digital machinery.  The article emphasizes how machines now interpret data and use neural networks to almost “think” similar to a human analyzing data.  This is a major contrast to older machinery, which would often involve “brute force” and very straightforward processes.

In conclusion, the MIT Press article enlightened me on currently-known technologies and brought my attention to topics that demanded it.  I believe many of these topics are just the start of a great shift in the digital world, and that the future of technologies such as deep machine learning and internet conjunctions is vast and will change the world greatly.

Computing Innovations

The dawn of fiber optics was an amazing feat of a flurry of technological ideas.  Engineers looked at the current problem of copper wires and different transportation of information and saw that it was much too slow.  They came up with something ingenious, using the fastest object in the world to transfer information for you: light.  The cables work by using a glass core to contain the light with an outer cladding surrounding it to reflect the light inwards.  A plastic coating protects the cables from moisture and damage.  Despite the speeds this can take information around the world, there are inconveniences and problems with these systems.  For example, the cables run underground and have the potential to be struck by underground work.  They are also very expensive and difficult to work with effectively due to their fragility.  

A volunteer I consulted with told me extension cords were a great impact on computing, as they can carry a signal further than the source of power.  This not only increases the distance you can compute from, but extension cords are useful due to their ability to permit freedom to users of equipment that requires constant power from an outlet. This seemed to be a minor creation and is somewhat looked over, but to my volunteer, it was something that was significant in altering their life in a computing aspect. They are much more complex than one may originally think, and, stemming from a simple idea, create an immense number of possibilities. They can also transfer any amount of electricity, depending on the request, as they can come in any thickness. A variation of the extension cord is the power cord, which allows for both a length extension and a creation of more outlets per wall socket.  Despite this, there are minor pitfalls with extension cords, as they are physical and can break, get tangled, and wear down.  

Although both inventions have a common similarity in their appearance, they serve a much more interesting characteristic. They have many outstanding differences, such as how the wires work. This major difference is in the speed of data transfer, as one uses light and one uses traditional copper wire. Both have an overarching feature of assisting humans in some way that allows for almost infinite possibilities of seemingly unimaginable accomplishments and advancement in science. For example, fiber optics allow for such high speed data transfer across the world that the internet is possible, creating connections with people that may never meet each other physically.  Extension cords allow for machines to be in whatever position, regardless of where building outlets may be.  It also increases the number of machines that can use one outlet.  Therefore, these inventions have advanced technology in major ways using big idea thinking.