“Solving Problems Requires Understanding Them Whole, In Their Full Context” — Amen To That! (Reflections On Surviving The Smart Phone/Twitter Age)

Safari (noun):  a journey or expedition, for hunting, exploration, or investigation…

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Ok, it is one of those “I can’t sleep” bouts…  Too tired to concentrate, too awake to go back to sleep.  I hate/love these moments.

These are the times when I go on a web safari, checking in with authors I like, who send me on my web adventure.  And, yes, what I just wrote almost goes against what I am about to share…

James Fallows has just introduced me to Miller-McCune (Smart Journalism.  Real Solutions. — Of course, I am late to the discovery, as is frequently the case).  It is worth a few minutes in my middle of the night adventure.

Here’s are excerpts of a terrific article: The Gadget in the Gray Flannel Suit: Generation S and the coming humanization of the digital revolution by John Mecklin.  He is basically arguing that we are in the infancy of all of this new-found technology, and as we mature, there is hope for sanity.  Here’s an excerpt:

To stick with the New York Times theme, a “Week in Review” piece recently quoted Nicholas Negroponte, founder of the MIT Media Lab, in this way: “I love the iPad, but my ability to read any long-form narrative has more or less disappeared, as I am constantly tempted to check e-mail, look up words or click through.”

I have no idea how Negroponte feels about his lost narrative reading capabilities, but I think the capacity to access and process complex stories is fundamental to the human experience and, in particular, to self-government. Solving problems requires understanding them whole, in their full context. Holding public officials accountable requires a depth of reportage and presentation that is not maximized by the forms that digital media now inhabit – as wonderfully as those forms support standard-issue breaking-news coverage.

Powers thinks that eventually the way to make the digital juggernaut work for people involves making the technology through which connectivity happens more human-centered and human-scale. I agree. Multitasking and the wisdom of the crowd have their uses — they just aren’t central to humanity’s highest aims. When we get computerized gadgetry that extends human intellectual abilities as naturally and seamlessly as eyeglasses extend vision, it will inevitably stop distracting us and start helping us focus whatever powers we have on the problems we could solve, the inventions we might make and the art we must, to remain human, create.

Take a look at the full article.  Explore Miller-McCune (one of its 10 best new magazines of 2008).  It is worth a few minutes in a web safari.

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