In a recent article from the Scientific American discusses the natural progression of computers and their effect on society. Fellow techie David Pogue offers an anecdote on he and his father memorizing past presidents of the United States. However, when recently incentivizing his son to do the same, the child replied “everyone has a smartphone.” This draws a point to a new debate in modern technology — if we can have access to the single largest knowledge base in human history nearly anywhere and anytime, why should we have to memorize “trivial” details? What is a trivial detail?
The article quickly presents a bold statement which we at Myriad agree with – As society marches ever forward, we leave obsolete skills in our wake. Naturally there are extreme ends of the spectrum that seem unrealistic, but let’s look at what seems to be the most relevant application, simple tasks and knowledge such as calculation and computation.
To be completely honest, I’m dreadful at arithmetic. Long division, multiplication tables above 12, factoring, and even decimal subtraction all trip me up more often than not. This, however, does not mean I am dreadful or even half-bad at mathematics. I can keep up with my calculus, set and computation theory, and even graph theory on a good day. Why is this? I’ll admit that I relied heavily on a calculator throughout my academic career, though I studied my mathematics book carefully. I would goof up on simple multiplication enough so that I would never improve, instead I dove right in for my trusty TI-84 calculator, probably more than I should have. Does this mean arithmetic is obsolete? Certainly not, but it is possible that it’s approaching that direction. Computers in the very near future will be so quick to access, that it may just be quicker to let it do the work instead of trying to figure out that subtraction problem in your head, even for the most simple problems.
This absolutely does not mean that numbers and computation are any amount of useless, just as the inability to memorize the presidents doesn’t take away from their significance to the country — we’re just allowing computers to hasten us “to the point” of the information we’re really after. In the same way, instead of computing spreadsheets by hand, we now have phenomenal programs to compute en masse for us, and likewise global positioning systems to guide us instead of trudging through a map.
A lot of our mobile applications here at Myriad don’t solve complex problems, but rather help businesses and consumers get straight “to the point” of what they’re really after. Instead of them having to carry around material or knowledge that is unnecessary and cumbersome, we leave such obsolete things in our wake and march forward towards success, simplicity, and efficiency in the form of mobile app solutions.
We live in an era where a smartphone is one of our greatest assets and that is nothing short of amazing. As a society, instead of learning how to use a slide rule, we’ve learned to use a calculator. Instead of a thick dictionary book, we now use an online resource. We are constantly pushing the envelope of how we can allow technology to assist us. The largest database of knowledge in history exists on a little phone in your pocket — why shouldn’t we take advantage of that to its fullest extent and then some?
Don’t get caught in obsoletion, join us in turning your back on old technology.
– Connor Flaat & Sam Stutsman