Quester relates: How technology is making us all smarter

A recent book review in The New York Times entitled “Brain Gain” by Walter Isaacson discussed how technology is changing our minds for the better. In this article, Clive Thompson, author of “Smarter Than You Think,” is spotlighted for his perspective regarding human and machine pairing.. That we, as humans, shouldn’t be worried about machines becoming smarting than us because it is the strength of each component – the process power of a large logic circuit and the intuition of a human brain’s “wetware” – that makes for a truly unstoppable team.

The point, Isaacson summarizes, is that “‘artificial intelligence’ – defined as machines that can think on their own just like or better than humans – is not yet (and may never be) as powerful as ‘intelligence amplification,’ the symbolic smarts that occur when human cognition is augmented by a close interaction with computers.” Furthermore, he describes his belief that social networks and other digital devices are, on balance, “enhancing our lives and improving the world in the same mixed-blessing sort of way that writing, paper, the printing press and telephone did.”

Don’t believe him? Isaacson points to Socrates who was concerned about the act of writing (in general) because it would “create forgetfulness in the learners’ soul” when they were not using their own memories. But, as Socrates failed to foresee, when we no longer need to store everything, we’re able to embark on more complex thought.

(You can find the full article here)

I was thrilled to read this perspective because Quester’s entire business is built on Socrates’ interviewing techniques, along with a unique hybrid of human intuition and the power of technology.

At Quester, we use psychiatric interviewing techniques (which are foundationally based on Socratic questioning) to explore complex ideas and to deeply understand thoughts, feelings, assumptions, and experiences. We explore the memories and notions that people hold with systematic and well-grounded questioning, just as Socrates would have wanted us to.

Unlike Socrates, however, we do believe in the power of writing and text. With the rise and influence of text in dictionaries, encyclopedias, newspapers, magazines, blogs, social networks, and so on, we, as humans, have found a way to use text to express ourselves in ways Socrates didn’t believe would be possible.

Our questioning, combined with our linguistic analysis of conversation is Quester’s human component. And, meeting it halfway is Quester’s proprietary technology specifically designed to amplify our reach and speed.

Like Thompson, we believe technology is making us smarter. But we’re taking our smarts and sharing it with clients, too. Instead of merely relying on a few conversations that employs an interviewing method grounded in history, we’re talking to hundreds and sometimes even thousands of people. With the same rigor and same depth, but reaching so many more people to provide confidence in insights.

Talk back!
How has technology made you smarter?


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