What's a computer?

Nafensoriel

Limp Gawd
Joined
Nov 23, 2015
Messages
382
Yeah, definitely. I went to a pretty rigorous high school, but in the first week of college we had a basic essay writing class and we had to write a short paper on something random and then pass them around and read each other's.

I was baffled at the low quality of writing coming from my peers. It was horrible, like middle school level if even that. But I understand that most people probably don't have an opportunity to go to specialized schools, and just end up in whatever the closest public school is in their neighborhood. Still sad.
It's not even about specialized education. The brain is a muscle for knowledge. If we don't stimulate that knowledge it will atrophy over time or simply not develop at all.
There is nearly zero incentive to learn to write well, or even at all, for the average person today. Many of us consider it important(and it is) but to the younger generation why? Their focus is on instant quickly understandable concepts rather than structure and tone. The texting language is a good example of this. How many absolutely god-awful resumes have we all seen? Their language is becoming digital and in so doing loses most of the emotion transfer behind the words.

Hell, even the sciences are going this way. Take a bog-standard LC/MS. Today is nothing really like the early tools. We used to call it "lucifers chromatography" for a reason. Now it's mostly done inside the software and hardware. Even sample prep is being slowly eroded away from the user for the sake of accuracy and precision. What I see happening more and more at other labs(where they focus on costs vs agility) is the entire analyst staff becomes button pushers. They can RUN things really well... as long as NOTHING WHATSOEVER changes. Not one of them knows HOW anything works anymore.
 

sfsuphysics

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Jan 14, 2007
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15,004
I knew the end was near when I started seeing Windows referring to everything you installed as "apps". Pretty much why us old timers dislike new iterations of Windows, because they are making it more and more dumber for each generation that comes.
 

cybereality

[H]F Junkie
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Mar 22, 2008
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8,490
It's not even about specialized education. The brain is a muscle for knowledge. If we don't stimulate that knowledge it will atrophy over time or simply not develop at all.
I agree, but it starts at a young age. If these kids are not stimulated at school, and are lot learning "how to learn", then they are at a disadvantage later in life.

The problem, IMO, is that most school is boring and not taught correctly. Like many people think math is useless, but if instead they taught you how to create 3D graphics (and the math was just a means to get there), or how to program robot AI, etc. more kids would be interested.

But they teach too much theory and there is a disconnect that it is actually anything useful. Plus, there is so much stuff they are not teaching, like how to do your taxes, how to save money and what interest is, explaining how bank loans work, basic logic and philosophy, critical thinking, etc. These kids are not ready for the real world.
 

Axman

[H]F Junkie
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Jul 13, 2005
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10,307
I often feel like I am the only person in a system of thousands who can compose a comprehensible e-mail or even spell correctly.

Again, I think that's from having the knowledge of bridging the gap. We had letters, then text-based email, then GUI-based email, then browser-based email, and the whole set of Internet cultural phases that went in and out of all of those tech shifts.

For anyone who skipped all of that, they don't have the etiquette that we're accustomed to. And it kinda sucks, but then again, we have to consider ourselves the lucky ones.

I had to have "the conversation" with my in-laws about calling or texting after 10 pm. I was like, hey, at what time would you have ever let your kids take phone calls past 10? They were like, never, and the cut-off was 8. And I was like, guess what, we still live by those rules. If it's an emergency, fine, but if it can wait until tomorrow, keep it to yourself.
 

Jagger100

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Oct 31, 2004
Messages
7,687
This is very much a connected problem to when 'internet addiction' and you should 'unplug' used to be bandied about. And you were made fun of for spending too much time online.

But then Steve Jobs invented a connection to the internet that a blonde cheerleader could use. Then poof internet addiction was the norm. I'm sure Big Tech hegemony had nothing to do with those ideas disappearing from commonplace.
 

mlcarson

Limp Gawd
Joined
Jul 12, 2009
Messages
363
So I am taking a Computer Science degree online right now (I'm old, but decided to go back to school). I'm learning a ton of great stuff. Even building and using computers since the 80's, there is a lot of stuff I didn't understand.

For example, in one class I studied Turning Machines, and they would give me a tape of instructions and I would have to calculate (in my head) what the program would produce as a result when running through a Turing Machine.

This was amazing for me, and I think everyone should have to learn this. While modern computers are not exactly Turning Machines, the basic ideas are the same (providing instructions to a CPU, logical processes, operating on data, etc.).

If you can't understand the concept of a file, you will get nowhere in your career or your life. You will merely be a tool, using other people's software (with scant knowledge of how it works), and won't be capable of anything even remotely complex.

There is a book by Douglas Rushkoff called Program or be Programmed and it is very relevant to this conversation: https://www.amazon.com/Program-Be-Programmed-Douglas-Rushkoff-ebook/dp/B004ELAPME/

Basically, he talks about how with new technology, there are always the programmers and the people that are programmed. Even going back to say the printing press. The people that controlled the printing press (at first mostly to produce the Bible) where the ones that controlled the thoughts of the population.

And now with digital media and software, if you don't know how it works, how to program a computer, then you are probably being programmed by someone else.

It's scary to think what will happen to society when these kids that don't know what a file is grow old, and all us neck beards die, who will be left that knows how any of this works?
I think you mean Turing Machines -- not turning. Spellcheck in this case doesn't do you any favors. Younger people can't get by without a spellchecker these days. They can't do simple math in their head and they also can't write their own name because cursive isn't taught. I think our education system is failing us.
 

Wat

Limp Gawd
Joined
Jun 23, 2019
Messages
296
Personally, I think knowing how to make soap is much more important than doing math without a calculator or knowing conversational sanskrit.

But how many people on here could do it? If the internet went off and no one could Google the answers-- who has that precious knowledge tucked away in their brains?

I do. So I would be the king of lather. I would rule you all.

Seriously, everyone can't know everything. There are probably tweens looking at you and shaking thier heads because you are totally ignorant about [something].
 

Zarathustra[H]

Extremely [H]
Joined
Oct 29, 2000
Messages
33,109
Seriously, everyone can't know everything. There are probably tweens looking at you and shaking thier heads because you are totally ignorant about [something].

yeah, but what tweens care about is utterly irrelevant.

They aren't even people yet :p
 

travm

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Feb 26, 2016
Messages
1,446
Personally, I think knowing how to make soap is much more important than doing math without a calculator or knowing conversational sanskrit.

But how many people on here could do it? If the internet went off and no one could Google the answers-- who has that precious knowledge tucked away in their brains?

I do. So I would be the king of lather. I would rule you all.

Seriously, everyone can't know everything. There are probably tweens looking at you and shaking thier heads because you are totally ignorant about [something].
Rest assured, you wouldn't rule anything. The guy making AR ammo in his basement would have you as his bitch.
 

Wat

Limp Gawd
Joined
Jun 23, 2019
Messages
296
Nah, stink carries a long way. As long as I had a dog, I'd be good.
 

travm

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Feb 26, 2016
Messages
1,446
You only stink if you're wearing clothes.

Also, didn't know that dogs were immune to .556
 
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