Are we friends with Siri?

Here is a great piece from The New Yorker on human intelligence and technology. The question of whether we are getting smarter is an interesting one. Another way to posit this question is, will technology replace or supplement human intelligence? In the first scenario, technology would render human cognitive processes obsolete with the ability to perform complex computations in seconds. In the second scenario, technology would augment human thought by providing useful tools.

The theory of human augmentation, as Professor Tim Wu discusses in his piece, rests on the premise that technology can exist in a symbiotic relationship with human intelligence. That is to say, technology can function alongside peacefully with humanity, and it will continue to act as subordinate. While I don’t dispute this thesis, I think that it is a bit too simplistic. At what point do we stop owning technology, and become owned by technology? When is technology no longer a subservient tool to our cognitive needs, and instead a master domineering the way we think?

I guess that depends on how “the way we think” is defined. Maybe this is all just part of the evolutionary process.

we are now different creatures than we once were, evolving technologically rather than biologically, in directions we must hope are for the best.


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