Dumb and DumberNicholas Carr warns us in his essay; Automation is Making Us Dumb by saying that artificial intelligence is among us by attempting to scare his readers with a long list of humanistic type qualities that robots now possess.
By using real-life examples of how technology is changing the way previous skill requiring jobs are being taken over by machines. Car exemplifies that instead of artificial intelligence lifting humanity up into the new age they are instead leaving people dumbed down and in the dust. Taking the reader back to the beginning, he tells of factory history and how technology had a very positive impact in the production rate of factory-made goods, along with “relieving factory hands of routine chores”(Carr 393). Carr does acknowledge many times throughout that, not all technology is dangerous, he gives credit where credit is due when talking about the number of human errors that prevented and the lives that technology has saved. He argues that technology can be a great tool that people use to better their everyday lives, however, if the technology is implemented into every nook and cranny of our lives, there could be consequences to how the human mind copes with the new way of life. Technology is an excellent tool that simplifies the risky job of flying a plane, helps to remove human error in the medical field and improving our infrastructure together humans and technology can pair together and become an unstoppable force.
Carr avoids the paradox that gadgets are apparently making humans dumber but are being made by smart engineers and scientists. Carr moves on to try to worry his readers by reminding them that “Computers now handle most flight operations between take-off and landing” (Carr 394) I agree with Carr with the idea that if any skill goes unused with will become rusty to for its user. However, I disagree that a rusty pilot is less-skilled or worse “dumb.
” Autopilot has been coded to take care of 100% of all possible situations that can be called upon the moment a situation were to occur without having to include human reaction time which could mean the difference between life and death. Only the very best of pilots keep their skills razor sharp and those are our Air Force jet pilots that are operating jets that range from 100 million-2.4 billion(Luce), it’s cute to think that your average Delta Joe is going to be as keen as our military.
Carr gives convincing statistics for when there was apparently mistakes with the autopilot automation “2009 crashes of Continental Flight 3407 in Buffalo and Air France Flight 447 in the Atlantic Ocean…”(Carr 394). However, it ended up that the only major issue was not how “rusty” the pilots were but how they worked with the autopilot systems. An area that has been hit equally as hard as the aviation industry is the medical field.
Everything about medicine is more advanced with the help of technology than it was even five years ago, doctors always strive to be on the cutting edge of research to better aid their patients. Carr hates the idea of technology having anything to do with making diagnoses instead of doctors. “Examined the misdiagnosis…they argue that the digital templates used by the hospital….helped induce a kind of tunnel vision” (Carr 395).
Carr is ignorant to think that human doctors’ are clean when the blood is literally on their hands. Every year “251,454 deaths are due to medical errors in the US”(Christensen) these are the people who would have survived if it wasn’t for the errors. It’s impossible to think that doctors should be caught up in every new study or every new procedure, they wouldn’t have time to see patients because all they would be doing is reading. Computers now days can help aid with all of the nonsense making it easier for doctors to keep up to date, again technology assists, this time making doctors smarter rather than dumber.
People wouldn’t care who or what solved a medical puzzle or build a bridge their driving over, if its a computer or a person solved they just want it done or to be built correctly. He moves from his issues with the medical field to a new topic of interest saying that automation isn’t just hindering the mind of technically minded people, but also the creative types. I disagree with Carr when he addresses “technology-centered automation” which architects apparently primarily suffer from saying that creativity is being limited to what can be done for them in a computer(Carr 395).
Wanting to make buildings and bridges that have a greater chance not to fall isn’t the lazy man’s way out. Instead, it’s the smart way. One simple human error could mean the death of hundreds or thousands of people, without even looking into what the legal consequences of making an unsafe infrastructure. Human-centered automation allows people to take a more active role in their in their work by limiting the amount of times they are only pushers of buttons(Carr 396). Carr is spot on with understanding that the utopia would be to incorporate more active technology roles, so humans don’t get a mundane feeling with their everyday tecky lives but also don’t lose all of the wonderful benefits that technology brings.
Technology isn’t going away anytime soon if anything it will only take more of our everyday lives. Carr makes many excellent eye-opening arguments that force his reader to take a step back and self-evaluate the life that they live. Everytime a reader steps on an airplane after reading his article they will wonder countless times if-if the pilot is truly flying the plane.
Next time the reader goes to the doctor’s office, they might be a little more aware of how “going through the motions” their doctor might appear. Certainly, when the reader is in a skyscraper or going over a long bridge, they will stop and pray that the architect knew what he was doing. Humans are wonderful in their bliss, but when it comes to nail-biting situations they crack under pressure, technology has accounted for this flaw and is programmed for a possible life-changing response, technology is the best parts of the human brain without the flaws.
Remember if a machine is flying the airplane, then one more person can be reading Sky Mall Magazine from 30,000 feet. Everyone’s a winner.