As We May Think

Pointing out the lack of scientist that are visionaries for future possibilities of technology, Vannevar Bush’s article calls for scientist to extend and further develop mental associative powers in technological advancements consist of a somewhat chiding tone towards man’s focus on the physical benefits of technology. His criticism over how developments in technology in the current time have “thrown masses of people against one another with cruel weapons” seems not to be relevant in today’s society. Major progress has been made in associative data sorting since 1945. Consider an iPhone: when typing a message, the iPhone has the ability to properly (for the most part) fix misspelled words by associating what words are already in the sentence to what would logically make the most sense. It learns your tendencies in typing as it grows more familiar to yours patterns and habits with continued use.

Watson is another great and more complex example of this associative learning by using cognitive computing. How Watson works is a prime example of what Bush envisioned to be invented years ago. Watson analyzes data by using a natural language processer to understand grammar and context. He then evaluates all possible meanings and determines what is being asked. He then presents answers and solutions based on supporting evidence and information found in world data. These two very influential pieces of technology have changed the way scientist approach this modern age. As Bush stated “whenever logical processes of thought are employed…there is an opportunity for the machine” and that is what modern science today has captures and capitalized on. Now people can work quicker and easier than ever before just by using their everyday iPhone. Bush was indeed a visionary even if he viewed past advancements as only benefiting to man’s physical needs. I do not think that it would have been possible to create cognitive computing technology today if it weren’t for the past ventures of experimenting with technology for physical improvements. The beauty of technology is it grows and evolves and builds off of what already exist and without the past inventions which Bush sees as flaws, I do not think we as a society would have gotten to the advancements we have and continue to achieve to today.

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