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Thread: The Dumbing Down of Society (or as I call it, the M$ Age)

  1. #1
    Just a Virtualized Geek MrLinus's Avatar
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    Sep 2001
    Redondo Beach, CA

    The Dumbing Down of Society (or as I call it, the M$ Age)

    Source: Tiger Shark's comments here

    Ms. M: You also have to understand that this is a natural progression of society.... Used to be that you could build your house, live in your house, fix your house, grow your veggies, keep your animals that gave you milk and eggs etc. etc. etc. But as things become more complex then people are no longer able to manage all the knowledge required to manage their own life. Thus we "specialize". When we specialize we determine what is important and what isn't. Your car is important... It gets you to work.... I just, (2 hours ago), had a guy in to fix my washing machine... sucks... now I have to finish the laundry... ... But _my_ computer is fine as is my sweetie's.... because I am "specialized".... or "special"... depending on who you talk to.....
    I decided to continue this here since it was taking away from the existing thread. Hope that's ok, TS.

    The thing that has me concerned is if society is less inclined to do research (and we are seeing a large portion of society not wanting to do it), are we running the risk of fewer discoveries being made and perhaps society going back steps? I know I tend to see it disproportionately as an educator but I find it scary sometimes to think that there are many going out there with little to no desire to do anything beyond play games. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy a good round with a BFG but if everyone played games, then who would do things?

    In addition, in a broader scale, our dependence on the Internet has, I wonder, made the rest of society seem impersonal and thus no one is interested in being part of society unless it's made of 1s and 0s. Forums like this -- where there is a sense of "community" -- seem to be thriving. I was shocked as to how many exist out there (I'm now part of communities for long distance cycling, gaming and private gaming).

    I don't think we need to be super specialized on everything but I find it's getting to a point where people won't even deal with the basic things. And that is probably what has me more concerned. Not everyone can fix a car's computer but you should be able to fix a flat, shouldn't you?
    Goodbye, Mittens (1992-2008). My pillow will be cold without your purring beside my head
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  2. #2
    ********** |ceWriterguy
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    Aug 2004
    Hiya MSMittens. I have thought for a very long time that the advent of windows, although it made computers available to everyone, was an instrument of destruction to the intelligence of the masses. Back then we phrased it differently - "Windows is for those who are too stupid to do command line." I still follow that rule, even though the command line I learned is much considered a "dead language" these days. It's just too freaking simple. Click, Click, Click, and the idiots can create their own hate site, surf their pron, express their obtuse views and defend them against the masses, or even usurp the hard efforts of others to exploit certain aspects of someone else's system.

    Another neat addage that I believe is that Computers in general, these wonderful working tools we've created to make our lives easier, have been responsible for more mistakes, more lost time, and cost the investment of more of the workforce than anything else in history. Unfortunately living in today's society they're indespensable.

    Ah well, my 2 cents. Figured this was the right spot to put it.
    Even a broken watch is correct twice a day.

    Which coder said that nobody could outcode Microsoft in their own OS? Write a bit and make a fortune!

  3. #3
    AO Curmudgeon rcgreen's Avatar
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    Nov 2001
    I wouldn't want my heart surgeon wasting his valuable time
    changing his own tires. When he's not working at his specialty,
    he should be enjoying his life. If this means that someone else
    cooks his food, repairs his car etc. so be it. Everyone enjoys
    a better life.

    We even pay people to entertain us, something I think we should
    definitely learn to do for ourselves. Imagine the money we would
    save if we let Hollywood collapse, and learned to have relationships
    with real people.
    I came in to the world with nothing. I still have most of it.

  4. #4
    Senior Member
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    Mar 2002
    I don't think society is "dumbing down," I think it was always like this. It just manifests itself in different ways throughout time. When it comes to people being so ignorant with computers, I think Microsoft is definately responsible. You simply can't expect anything else from a man who said that, "If you can't make it good, at least make it look good."

  5. #5
    AO Ancient: Team Leader
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    Oct 2002
    Ms. M:

    Hope that's ok, TS
    No probem at all my dear....

    I don't think that our "learning curve" as a species is going to slow down since for every hundred "do-nothings" there are still the one bright light with interest.

    It's also possible that your observations are a little skewed due to your scholastic environment. (That's not meant badly....). What you see are all the young "heads full of mush" being unleashed on society who have yet to truly decide what excites them or interests them for the rest of their lives. I'm sure also that you see many that are simply sticking out the course because they are told they must have a degree so their level of independent activity is probably lower than what they are capable of.....


    have been responsible for more mistakes
    IMO, wrong.... If a human makes a mistake based on information that the computer gave him who's mistake is it? Let's look at the reverse and much more common occurence where computers make mistakes based on information given to it by humans.... (Note: As a point of reference the computer never makes a mistake... Mistakes are reserved for those that have choice).

    Sick Dwarf:

    I think Microsoft is definately responsible.
    Rubbish. What you are saying is that has MS stuck with a command line interface then everyone would be better at computers. Your error is believing that all those people that have computers now would still have bought them had they only been command line which is not the case... Computer owners under those circumstances would still be considered pioneers.

    As we progress I think we are going to have to become more specialized and at a younger age. Just think, in Pythagoras' time you would be a leading scholar by the time you have learned what you have by 8-9th grade today. What will happen tomorrow?
    Don\'t SYN us.... We\'ll SYN you.....
    \"A nation that draws too broad a difference between its scholars and its warriors will have its thinking done by cowards, and its fighting done by fools.\" - Thucydides

  6. #6
    AO Soccer Mom debwalin's Avatar
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    Mar 2002
    Here's my input to the topic...a little off topic, but still on topic.

    My son has, since he was in kindergarten, worked well above his grade level in all subjects. It's never really been a problem, once I made the teachers understand that I wanted him to be working on things that challenged him, but didn't want to push him forward in actual grade level. (He's very immature, and moving him into a class with older children would be very damaging to him at this point.) To make it a little clearer, he is in the third grade, and does approximately 6th grade math, and is above high school level in reading and comprehension. This has never been a problem...until this year. In Florida, in the third grade, they take something called FCAT's. If they don't score a passing grade on the FCAT, they don't pass the third grade, period, regardless of other grades. There is a huge amount of focus on this test, and everything in the third grade is geared toward making sure everyone passes this test. This test, btw, is part of President Bush's "No Child Left Behind" law. Or as I like to call it, "Bringing the masses down to the lowest common denominator". I understand that slower children need more help, and need instruction. Unfortunately, what I see (and keep in mind I'm actually at his school, working in his and other classrooms 3-4 days a week) is lots and lots of smart kids, mine included, languishing in utter boredom, having their biggest mental challenge beating a video game, and getting in trouble at school for being bored and finding ways to entertain themselves.

    There are several things at fault here, starting with a law that brings everyone down to the same level, instead of trying to push our children to do their best. The teachers are hardly at fault, because they can only do one thing at a time, and their jobs are literally on the line with the basis of their classes test results for the FCAT. The school administration can hardly be held to fault, because their public funding is at risk based on the results of this test (think school vouchers). However, in the meantime, with seemingly no one to blame, bright kids are becoming bored troublemakers, because the dumb kids have to pass this test.

    BTW, my son took a "sample" FCAT test halfway thru the second grade. He passed it with flying colors. So his entire third grade year is being spent re-teaching him things he knew a year ago.

    I would also like to address what was said about the internet (to paraphrase) making people dumber. I disagree strongly with that, because I use the internet to both find teaching materials for my son (since he's not getting an education at school this year) and to do tremendous amounts of research on mental illnesses and medications used to treat them. The internet, used as such, can be a great learning tool, and also one to teach with.
    Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read.

  7. #7
    HeadShot Master N1nja Cybr1d's Avatar
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    Jul 2003
    Boston, MA
    I would also like to address what was said about the internet (to paraphrase) making people dumber. I disagree strongly with that, because I use the internet to both find teaching materials for my son (since he's not getting an education at school this year) and to do tremendous amounts of research on mental illnesses and medications used to treat them. The internet, used as such, can be a great learning tool, and also one to teach with.
    Absolutely....Half the **** I know I learned from the internet, Especially AntiOnline.

    As far as standardized tests go...After I graduated high school, they started making a test called "MCAS" mandatory to pass. When I took it...It didnt really matter much if I passed or not. A lot of kids today are failing the test, and if they fail, they cannot graduate. They get 3-4 tries though. I do see their purpose. I would appreciate it if more people at today's workplaces knew how to do math without using a calculator, and still getting it wrong. I would defenitely like to see more intelligent people out there who know their ****, instead of being completely underqualified for a job. Perhaps they should change the way these tests are given so they better suit each student, but by all means, they should test them every few years. They're a pain in the ass, but at least (hopefully) when they graduate, they're not completely useless idiots who can't even do basic math .

    My 2c..

  8. #8
    AO Soccer Mom debwalin's Avatar
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    Mar 2002
    I have nothing against standardized tests, they absolutely do have a place in education, to guage a students progress. I agree with that completely. What I have a problem with is an entire school year being devoted to a single standardized test. What I have a problem with is my son not learning anything new at all this year, because this particular standardized test has turned the third grade into a review of kindergarten, first and second grade, rather than a year for learning new stuff.
    Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read.

  9. #9
    Macht Nicht Aus moxnix's Avatar
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    May 2002
    Huson Mt.
    I can under stand the problem your child is going through, Deb. When I was in high school I got A's and B's on almost every test, but since I very seldom if ever did any home work, C's and D's for a final grade in my classes.

    I graduated HS with a 1.9 gpa, but graduated college with a 3.3 gpa ( didn't go to college untill I was 30 btw), while working a full time job also. The empathise was not on home work in college.

    Today, if I go to a store to buy something, I find the cashiers don't even have the simple math skills to make change with out the cash register doing it for them. If your bill is $7.57 and you hand the cashier $10.07, they just stare at you like WTF. About half the time you will get back $2.43 + another .07 cents seperately. Then when you hand the change part back to the cashier and ask for 2 quarters........they have to count it all out again, and a lot of the time get that wrong.

    The only answer I can think of is to have two or three completely different school systems for the different level of child, but that is unfair to those children also.
    \"Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, Champagne in one hand - strawberries in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming WOO HOO - What a Ride!\"
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  10. #10
    Junior Member
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    Oct 2004
    i am more optimistic. i think today knowledge and intelligence are distributed in a much more democratic way among the people. together with the increasing availability of all kinds of information many people realize how much *more* could be done. this kind of insatisfaction is what gets us going

    on the other hand, people in "well-fed" environments are beginning to use information very selectively because they dont feel the urge to get better in any way. they are really dumbing down, but this is not significant, since more people in other places are beginning to fill their gap. like this some cycle of motivation and reward can always be maintained, some human way of circling around some invisible poles.

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