terça-feira, 21 de novembro de 2017

Man-Computer Symbiosis


"The political process was a favorite example of his. In a McLuhanesque view of the power of electronic media, Lick saw a future in which, thanks in large part to the reach of computers, most citizens would be “informed about, and interested in, and involved in, the process of government.” He imagined what he called “home computer consoles” and television sets linked together in a massive network. “The political process,” he wrote, “would essentially be a giant teleconference, and a campaign would be a months-long series of communications among candidates, propagandists, commentators, political action groups, and voters. The key is the self-motivating exhilaration that accompanies truly effective interaction with information through a good console and a good network to a good computer.”"

A ironia de ler esta visão do potencial libertador da tecnologia, enunciado por JCR Licklider, um dos grandes pioneiros da computação em rede, na era em que a promessa libertadora da rede se esfumou nas bolhas cognitivas, fake news, e enviesamento da opinião pública através dos algoritmos de redes sociais. Os peritos russos em desinformação, só para citar um dos grupos de experts em manipular consciências através do implante de falsas informações e opiniões bombásticas em redes, estão a fazer muito bom uso desta intuição de Licklider nos anos 50.


Lick’s thoughts about the role computers could play in people’s lives hit a crescendo in 1960 with the publication of his seminal paper “Man-Computer Symbiosis.” In it he distilled many of his ideas into a central thesis: A close coupling between humans and “the electronic members of the partnership” would eventually result in cooperative decision making. Moreover, decisions would be made by humans, using computers, without what Lick called “inflexible dependence on predetermined programs.” He held to the view that computers would naturally continue to be used for what they do best: all of the rote work. And this would free humans to devote energy to making better decisions and developing clearer insights than they would be capable of without computers. Together, Lick suggested, man and machine would perform far more competently than either could alone. Moreover, attacking problems in partnership with computers could save the most valuable of postmodern resources: time. “The hope,” Licklider wrote, “is that in not too many years, human brains and computing machines will be coupled . . . tightly, and that the resulting partnership will think as no human brain has ever thought and process data in a way not approached by the information-handling machines we know today.”

Mais à frente, um ideário sobre o impacto da automação e robótica, também da mesma altura e do mesmo pioneiro, uma visão positivista completamente inversa dos nossos correntes receios sobre o potencial de uma humanidade obsoleta, num mundo automatizado e algoritmizado.

in Hafner, K., Lyon, M. (1998). Where Wizards Stay Up Late (The Origins of the Internet). Nova Iorque: Touchstone

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