Hancock, P.A. (2000). Can technology cure stupidity? Human Factors and Ergonomics Society Bulletin, 43(1), 1-4.
My title and theme for the present column comes from a provocative question i was asked recently – can technology cure stupidity? I think my questioner was primarily concerned fro human error in technical systems, but the outcome of discussion was more a focus on the impact of human factors and ergonomics in the process of learning, and is would like to consider.
For the most of human existence, the vast majority of human beings lived their lives in ignorance of our accumulated wisdom. Access to the summed store of formal knowledge was mediated by a controlling few because most people were unable to read or write. Despite any level of natural intelligence or degree of native wit, one’s position in the social hierarchy was traditionally contingent upon such access. As access to knowledge has broadened, the fluidity and structure of society has changed. In today’s world, more people know more than ever before. Collectively, as a species, we now express our highest level of understanding. Soon, we (and certainly our children) will have essentially instantaneous access to virtually all human information conveyed via any medium of choice.
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