by Stephen Downes
[Sept] 29, 2014
The Learning Machine, pecking pigeons and the Sending of Being
When people interact with each other, the social learning produced is not the replication of content from one mind to the next to the next. It's not even contained in any individual mind at all. Rather, society as a whole develops new learning. This is the meaning of "We think, therefore we am." Nick Shackleton-Jones captures the effect of this nicely. "Although we frequently stumble upon these bigger, emergent, purposes - evolution, religion, capital, technology – we don’t like to think of ourselves as their component parts. Because we glimpse but not grasp them, we like to think of them as products of human activity... Heidegger understood this: he realized that at best we glimpse these higher purposes, and that we experience them as an unfolding, as uncanny – as a revealing, a ‘destining’ and a ‘sending of Being’. We sense that something is being done to us, but we can’t guess what until we see it."
Why the Unskilled Are Unaware: Further Explorations of (Absent) Self-Insight Among the Incompetent
Joyce Ehrlinger, Kerri Johnson, M. Banner, D.Dunning, Justin Kruger,
It is well known that low-skilled people tend to over-estimate their performance. This is typically thought to result from their inability to recognize what poor and good performance looks like. But in this paper, the authors suggest there may be more to it than that. "What appears to be an inability to assess the quality of one’s performance on the part of the unskilled might actually be an unwillingness to do so accurately." People don't want to admit their own incompetence. But suppose this were accompanied with the knowledge that their performance can improve. "Recent research reveals that individuals who hold a view that intelligence is malleable make far more accurate assessments of the quality of their performance than do those who believe intelligence to be fixed." It's easier to be honest about our level of competence if we know that this is something that can, and will, improve. Via Doug Belshaw.
Network Theorist Barry Wellman Receives Lifetime Achievement Award from the Oxford Internet Institute
Worth noting as University of Toronto researcher Barry Wellman receives a significant honour. "The top-cited Canadian sociologist, Wellman’s current work continues to focus on the interplay between information and communication technologies, especially the Internet, social relations and social structure." Here's a sample of his writing, from Connecting Community: "In the old days, before the 1990s, places were largely connected -- by telephone, cars, planes and railroads. Now with the Internet (and mobile phones), people are connected." And the Glocal Village: "the Internet and other new communication technologies are helping people to personalize their own communities."
How To Train Your Attention and Be Effective When Working Online
OK, I have a cat that sits on my desk right in front of my keyboard, so I know about being distracted. But then again, I'm usually playing on Facebook or Twitter, so I guess it's a wash. But I'm not sure I need to go on an Information Diet, even if Clay Johnson recommends it. And I think that Daniel J. Levitin's distinction between task-negative and task-positive modes of consciousness is just so much made-up stuff. I haven't observed Linda Stone's 'email apnea' in myself (I have the regular kind of apnea, so I know what to look for). See, the presumption here is that the conversations we have online are interfering with the work we're supposed to be doing. But increasingly, these conversations are the work we're supposed to be doing. And if your work is taking you away from the network, maybe you should re-examine your work. It may be dysfunctional.
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