Reign of the robots: How to live in the machine age
By Ian Leslie for NewStatesman.com
I’m always fond of articles that remind me of GRE essay prompts. The prompt I have in mind is the very one that the Official Guide to the GRE provides for the essays it critiques. If you are an avid student of this book, then you’ll know I’m referring to the prompt that asks whether technology is eroding our ability to think.
This article, which critiques two books on this topics, offers up a more nuanced and balanced account than the typical tirade (“It’s turning us all into automatons”) or than what is probably contained in either book (though I’ve yet to read either).
I’m not saying that you are going to get the technology prompt when you take the GRE, so don’t try to remember every argument and counterargument (an example of technology eroding your ability to think?). Rather, get a sense for how the issues on the GRE essay are complex. They test your ability to avoid black and white thinking (“technology is bad”) and show, through the use of relevant examples, how the truth is a little more complicated and depends on a few things.
For instance, the author of this article does not condemn his GPS to the garbage can after reading about a bus driver who, while using a GPS, nearly drove off a bridge. Instead, the author realizes that a GPS system still has a function (when you are totally lost) but should not be used any time you are driving. Otherwise, you will slowly lose the ability to navigate and technology will erode your ability to think.
Words to look out for:
Okay…there actually aren’t too many words 🙂 .
Image Credit: “The iPad of Manhattanhenge” by Timothy Krause