by Stephen Downes
Apr 07, 2017
Wrapping 'post-modernism week' we have this video explaining why a packet of zero-calorie Splenda has 4 calories. What I like of course is the way a student uses science to prove this, then records a video for YouTube. When you wonder why people don't believe in authorities or facts any more, consider perhaps why we allow non-facts to inform FDA-approved food lables. I got this from George Couros, who asks, "Do we ask our students to do this type of work in our schools? Not only tackling ideas but sharing them through a medium that reaches so many people." And of course we don't, though the supply of material to work with is endless.
“Everybody is focusing on doing things in the cloud, but the place where you really control the experience is the endpoint.” I agree, and that's why I think there will be a swing back from cloud-based to local technologies (but no time soon). This health clinic in a box is a good example. "Gale is a breadbox-size chest containing diagnostic tools in the bottom drawer and medications and supplies in the top drawer. On the top is a pop-up touch screen that displays various interactive treatment guides." It is designed for environments where medical assistance (and internet access) are not readily available, though it would be very useful in a connected environment as well.
This is a nice case study in the use of OERs but I think it's more significant because of its reference to the definition of personalized learning: “A student experience in which the pace of learning and the instructional approach are optimized for the needs of each learner. Standards aligned learning objectives, instructional approaches and instructional content (and its sequencing) may all vary based on learner needs. In addition, learning activities are meaningful and relevant to learners, driven by their interests and often self-initiated.”
This is a tantalizing suggestion: "Philosophers and neuroscientists often assume that consciousness is like software, whereas the brain is like hardware. This suggestion turns this completely around. When we look at what physics tells us about the brain, we actually just find software—purely a set of relations—all the way down. And consciousness is in fact more like hardware, because of its distinctly qualitative, non-structural properties. For this reason, conscious experiences are just the kind of things that physical structure could be the structure of."
Bob Ross's The Joy of Painting is probably the most relaxing show in the history of television. But in this video recording of how an AI might perceive the show, it's a collection of eyeballs, creepy insects, spiders and assorted sea creatures. Humans do the same thing, but with less creepy results, as we have a much greater store of images to select from and match to the phenomena. When we see things, we're always trying to match what we see to what we've seen before. What the video should make you do is question how much of what we see is 'really' there and how much is our interpretation. Exercise for the reader: compare what the AI does with what science does and draw your own conclusion.
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