Retaining Humanity in the Information Age

In recent times, situations with humans and machine computers increased. For evidence, there is a recent analysis by a doctor of philosophy student at Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab (CSAIL), Carrie Cai, and supported by Massachusetts Institute of Technology professors Rob Miller and Jim Glass, former CSAIL postdoc Philip Guo, and undergraduate Anji Ren. Adam Conner-Simons in CSAIL expressed the results of Cai’s leadership related to a language-learning app labeled with the name WaitChatter. Conner-Simons (2015) said, “In a pilot study, WaitChatter users learned an average of about four words a day over a period of two weeks. The system takes words from both a built-in list as well as the user’s ongoing chat conversations.” The presence of interconnectivity is apparent, but learning in and of itself as a purpose did not save even the wisest Ancient Grecians from travailing. For instance, the reader may look to the writings of Plato about Socrates and reckon the irritation that he felt at being the target of sophistry despite his effort of love for his people (Cahn, Markie, 2012 p. 16-32).

Within these times, Byron Spice shared information about the results of Facebook and Carnegie Mellon University researchers, Moira Burke and Robert Kraut, on personal interactions with computers. Spice (2016) said, “By considering mood and behavior over time, Burke and Kraut’s study revealed that Facebook interactions with friends predicted improvements in such measures of well-being as satisfaction with life, happiness, loneliness and depression.” The psychological importance of understanding what and who people love is consistently important for humanity. Othello’s moral failings because of not understanding Iago’s hatred towards him serves as a sign and a wonder of the opposite being true as well, forever (Shakespeare).

For people, what we do is not as important as why we do it. Marshall McLuhan spoke about media serving as extensions of the human body. McLuhan (1989) said, “Without the artist’s intervention man merely adapts to his technologies and become their servo-mechanism” (p. 98). Therefore, people engineering their environments might become re-engineered for the new environments; the man without creativity will be controlled by circumstances. The Book of Proverbs (KJV) states, “My son, fear thou the LORD and the king: and meddle not with them that are given to change” (24:21). People may integrate faith with reason or develop derivative works of human-to-human or human-to-world relationships in the form of human-computer interactions, and prayerfully the truths that apply to all people will be retained. For learning languages as part of daily labor, the labor should be retained as done by Cai’s team. When seeking the transcendent with love from people, dependence on emotion more than logic or credibility is a timeless warning sign about misplacing trust in the hearts of men given to change more than the wisdom of those who study and reflect on relevance beyond the self. Further, the human self without a consistent truth about him will be repurposed for someone else’s design. Therefore, when interacting with computers designed by humanity, the reader should take care that he retains what results in blessings for ourselves and other people; that the soul of man is enriched.

References

Cahn, S. M., & Markie, P. J. (2012). Ethics: History, theory, and contemporary issues (5th ed.). New York, NY: Oxford University Press. p. 16-32

Conner-Simons, A. (2015, May 14). Learn a language while you text | MIT News. Retrieved from http://news.mit.edu/2015/learn-language-while-you-text-0514

Shakespeare, W., & Barnet, S. (1996). Othello.

Spice, B. (2016, September 6). Friends Help Friends on Facebook Feel Better | Carnegie Mellon School of Computer Science. Retrieved from https://www.scs.cmu.edu/news/friends-help-friends-facebook-feel-better

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Nicomachean Ethics Book I: The Good for Man

In the days of Ancient Greece, before Christ walked the earth in the flesh, a philosopher named Aristotle of Cyrene wrote a worked titled Nichomachean Ethics, and this entry is about the first book. The first book, THE GOOD FOR MAN, Aristotle begins with an assumption about all men. Steven M. Cahn and Peter Markie wrote that Aristotle said, “All human activities aim at some good: some goods are subordinate to others” (Cahn, Markie, 2012 p. 124). Aristotle was claiming that every personal and professional action throughout history can be assumed as working towards some end goal from a purpose. This may be interpreted as people having any particular end that is a personal philosophical argument. In the post-modern age, this is called a worldview. After this initial assumption, Aristotle derives an answer. Aristotle said, “The science of the good for man is politics” (p. 124). Further, Robert C. Bartlett asserted his stance about Aristotle. Bartlett said, “And in order to grasp the most important arguments of Aristotle’s “philosophy of human matters”—for example, to understand the ground of the superiority of intellectual to moral virtue—such reflection on happiness proves to be crucial” (Bartlett, 2008). With the words of Aristotle and Bartlett’s analysis, superior mental ability may be surmised as the means for attaining a particular good according to Aristotle.

Before this, the Biblical Scriptures contrasted this assertion. For example, the Book of Micah says, “He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God” (NIV, Micah 6:8). This is after the Exodus date asserted by Ralph K. Hawkins. In paraphrasing, Hawkins said, “Both biblical and extrabiblical evidence pointed to a mid-15th century BC date” (Hawkins, 2007). Andrew E. Hill and John H. Walton assert an approximate date for Micah. Hill and Walton wrote, “He [Micah] is said to have prophesied during the days of kings Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah. These three kings reigned during the last half of the eighth century BC, and it is a safe assumption that the prophecies would have been recorded at that time” (Hill & Walton, 2009, p. 642). During the time of the divided monarchy of Israel, Micah prophesied that God’s law is a reflection of His intelligence.

Although God is thought of in contemporary times as all knowing, the Hebrew Bible saw him particularly as infinitely wise in contexts of morality that exist in all things, and that is the distinguishing trait that separates Yahweh from all other gods. This may be seen with God’s position of lifting up people out of slavery and making them leaders of the ancient world; God is best noticed in his blessing of the meek. Therefore, Aristotle’s good for man is probably challenged the most in helping those who are meek. In my experience, the political good of a group even if refined from birth is not always moral in the eyes of Christ.

Bibliography

Bartlett, R. C. (2008). Aristotle’s introduction to the problem of happiness: On Book I of the Nicomachean Ethics. American Journal of Political Science, 52(3), 677-687. doi:10.1111/j.1540-5907.2008.00336.x

Cahn, S. M., & Markie, P. J. (2012). Ethics: History, Theory, and Contemporary Issues (5th ed.). New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

 

Hill, A. E., & Walton, J. H. (2009). A survey of the Old Testament (3rd ed.). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Pub. House.