Friday, January 31, 2014

    As with many new technologies, the author of 'Is Google making us Stupid' has decided that since the internet is new technology that is allowing us to communicate and learn in a new way that it is evil and causing the decline in the mental health of the whole world. Carr makes the argument that the easy availability of information and reading material on the web has changed more than just where people read. In a similar vein to arguments that have been made about almost every new medium for language over the past thousand years. With slippery slope as his main argument against the web he makes a surprisingly weak argument considering how highly he views himself as a writer. He argues that even though people are reading more today than they have in the past that its not proper reading. That the informal reading that people do on the web is not as cognitively difficult or stimulating as the endless pages of prose the so happily reminisces about being so readily available in books that he no longer has the attention span to read anymore. Making it seem as if the reading people do today is somehow harmful because it is coming  from the wrong medium or is presented in the wrong way. Which is just wrong as today the web gives people easy and fast access to all the knowledge they need to learn anything that they are interested in learning just a click away and deisolating the academic world by making it easier, cheaper, and faster for everyone to access information of all kinds.
    The argument that being able to search for anything just demonstrates a closed minded view of intelligence and education. The assumption that intelligence is related to ones ability to read hundreds of pages of prose is an outdated view of intelligence, similar to how Socrates viewed the written word as the end of the spoken debate or how newspapers were seen by many as the end of the book and television the end of the newspaper. The rapid change in how people access information and collective knowledge is really an advantage for humanity, because this rapid browsing of knowledge that occurs more often now than in depth search of texts for knowledge is really making it easier for people to be intelligent. If you look at blooms taxonomy, the most widely cited text in american education it separates intelligence into four layers across seven categories with the base of the pyramid being recall of information. With the internet giving people the ability to recall anything that they can vaguely remember with extreme accuracy almost completely removing that level from the intelligence pyramid allowing people to advance more quickly to higher levels of cognition with the help of the internet and instant information recall.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Pinto Madness detailed the Ford Motor Company's abuse of the American system to delay the enactment of safety regulations designed to protect consumers from cars that could not withstand low speed collisions.The main focus of this article was Ford's entry into the sub compact market with the 1971 Ford Pinto in and how in the pursuit of profit the company directly or indirectly caused the death of tens of thousands of people for the eight years they delayed Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 301 from being put into place. In 1971 Ford entered the market for sub compact cars with the original pinto, a car that was rushed into production in less than 25 months, 18 months faster than most cars of the time. This decision had been made by Lee Iacocca, the lead designer of the Mustang who had become President of Ford when the previous stepped down. His decision to rush production of the Pinto inevitably cost the lives of thousands of Fords loyal customers.
This decision by Ford shows how companies are not people, but money making machines that value a profit over all else, similar to technocratism and it's endless pursuit of technology as a means to an end companies do nothing more than pursue a profit for the sake of making money. It is in this way that they were able to justify the deaths of so many Ford customers each year, something that a person would not be able to live with, let alone get away with. By forcing the government to work as slowly as possible, which proved easier than it should have been, Ford was able to justify the deaths of Pinto owners by equating their lives to a dollar line amount on their books and for sometime convince them that it was better for their company and America to pay settlements to the victims of the Pinto rather than retool its factories and reduce their profits to produce a safer car because it was better for the bottom line, regardless of what was the right thing to do. This lack of emotion in industry can be seen not just in the auto industry, but across all of business as a whole. When profits are valued over people, they lose their meaning and stop being a positive benefit to society even hindering progress and harming society.