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新技术焦虑?其实从印刷术开始我们就在焦虑了 – 译学馆
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新技术焦虑?其实从印刷术开始我们就在焦虑了

Techno-Anxiety? We've Been Afraid of Disruptions Since the Printing Press

我们常问的一个问题是 新技术 互联网
So, one of the questions that we’re all asking now is what effect are the new technologies,
电脑 手机等设备会对下一代的孩子有什么影响
the Internet, computers, cell phones, screens going to have on the next generation of children?
答案是 直到20年后这些孩子长大 我们才会知道
The answer is we won’t know for another 20 years until those children grow up.
但我觉得我们可以根据过往的人类历史做一些猜想
But I think we can make some guesses based on our past human history.
关于人类 很重要的一点是 我们从一开始就是
One of the things about human beings is that we’ve been technological beings from the very
技术型物种
beginning.
实际上 在某种程度上 这是我们最独特的一点 我们使用工具
In fact, in a way that’s the thing that’s most distinctive about us, we use tools.
我们改造和影响环境
We modify and change our environments.
从物理和社会的角度来说我们都创造了世界上新的生活方式
We create new ways of being in the world, both physically and socially.
这是我们一直在进行和改变的事
And that’s what we’ve always done and we’ve always changed.
我们一直以来的传统是我们能够利用一代人的发明
We’ve always had culture, which enabled us to take the inventions of one generation and
然后改造它们 使之适合另一代人的需求
then modify or change them to suit another generation.
所以我们拥有技术的事实以及这些技术日新月异的事实
So the fact that we have technology and the fact that that technology changes and it changes
并不新奇
across generations, none of that’s new.
但是神奇的是 这种文化性改变的影响的一部分在于 随我们长大的
But curiously part of the effect of that cultural change is it always seems as if the technology
技术似乎是永恒的 它就是世界的一部分 一直在那里
that we grew up with is eternal, it’s just part of nature; it has always been there.
而我们孩子这一代发明的技术则是反乌托邦的疯狂麦克斯未来启示录
And the technology that our children come up with is part of a dystopian Mad Max future
的一部分
apocalypse.
而且只要我们作为人类存在一天这个事实就存在一天
And that’s also been true for as long as we’ve been around as human beings.
所以许多可以认为对我们确实有变革性影响的技术
So, many of the technologies that you could argue really did have transformative effects
是类似于印刷机 电报和火车这样的技术
on us are things like the printing press, the telegraph, the train.
我们不把电报看成是拥有惊人破坏力的新技术
We don’t think about a telegraph as being an amazingly disruptive new technology, but
但是当电报和火车普及的时候 很多报纸社论
when telegraphs and trains were introduced there were just as many editorials in the
都说它们是可怕的主意
paper saying these are awful ideas.
它们将会以一种对人类幸福来说毁灭性的方式
They’re going to reshape our lives in ways that are going to be completely destructive
重塑我们的生活
of human happiness.
从某种程度来说这是对的
Now in some ways that’s right.
我是说 印刷机确实彻底改变了我们和世界
I mean the printing press really did completely change the way that we related to the world
我们和他人的联系方式
and related to each other.
电报意味着我们沟通的速度从快马的速度
The telegraph meant that we went from communicating at the speed of a fast horse to communicating
提升到了光速
at the speed of light.
这极大地改变了我们互相影响和联系的方式
That made an enormous change in the way that we functioned and related to one another.
而且我觉得合理的是互联网这一类的事物也会改变
And I think it’s quite plausible that things like the Internet are also going to make a
我们思考的方式 以及我们与他人联系的方式
change in the way that we think, the way we relate to one another.
但是说这一次改变有些不同 这次改变将会
But the assumption that somehow this time it’s different, this is going to be the change
破坏我们的大脑和思维的假定 并不符合我们的历史
that’s going to destroy our brains or destroy our minds it doesn’t really fit our history
也不符合我们神经系统科学和心理学中已知的
and it doesn’t fit what we know from neuroscience and psychology about the way that childhood
童年是一段包含了一系列创新行为的时期这一事实
is this kind of cauldron of innovation.
因此我们之所以出现这种现象 感觉到
So one of the reasons why we have this effect, this kind of ratchet, this sense that the
我们这一代的技术变革和其他任何一代都完全不同的原因之一是
technological change in our generation is totally different than any of the others is
我们用成人大脑学习的方式 和用儿童大脑学习的方式
that there’s a big difference between the way we learn with an adult brain and the way
存在巨大差异
we learn with a child’s brain.
所以对于成年人来说 学习新技能需要投入大量的注意力
So for adults when they learn a new skill it demands tremendous amounts of attention
能量以及工作记忆
and energy and working memory.
我们必须下很大功夫来学新东西
We have to put a lot of work into learning how to do something new.
所以比如说当我需要搞清楚如何使用手机的时候 感觉很费事
So when I have to figure out how to use my cell phone, for example, it feels effortful.
我的意思是 这很花功夫 并且很容易分散注意力
I mean it is effortful and distracting.
这和我们在小时候学技能的过程很不一样
That’s very differrant though from what happens with the skills that we learn when we’re in
比如学习说话 甚至是
the first couple of years of life, things like learning to speak or even learning to
学习阅读
read.
当我走过一条挂满广告牌的街道时 我不会觉得
When I walk through a crowded street full of billboards I don’t feel as if I’m constantly
因为要理解所有广告牌上的字而被持续地分散
being distracted because I have to decode what all those letters on all those billboards
注意力
mean.
这是因为我在很小的时候就学会了这些所以理解广告牌这一过程是自动进行的
And that’s because I learned to do that at such a young age that it literally just takes
不需要更高级别的控制
place automatically without higher level control.
而且有可能对于新一代的儿童来说 他们从小就
And it seems plausible that that for a new generation children who are interacting with
通过触控和声音与设备互动这种互动之于他们
devices from the time their babies with touch and voice that kind of interaction will be
就像阅读之于我们一样自然
as natural and spontaneous for them as reading is for me.
这会变得不同
Now they’ll be different.
它和阅读不一样 因为和屏幕互动不同于阅读
It won’t be the same as reading because interacting with a screen is different from reading.
但是没有什么特别的理由让我相信这将会是邪恶可怕的技术
But I don’t see any particular reason to believe that that’s going to be that terrible evil
而不是所有其他的技术
technology as opposed to all the other technologies.
苏格拉底有句名言 阅读是个糟糕的主意
Socrates famously said that reading was a terrible idea.
书籍不是个好主意因为首先 书会破坏我们某些能力
Books were not a good idea because first of all they would destroy our ability to do things
比如记住荷马的一切话其次 如果有一本书 你就会思考
like memorize all the words of Homer, and secondly if you had a book you would think
书上写的哪些东西是真的而不是和书中的内容进行一场
that what was written in the book was true instead of engaging in a Socratic dialogue
苏格拉底式的对话
with the information in the book.
在这两点上 苏格拉底是对的
And Socrates was right about both of those things.
今天没有人记忆力好到能记住荷马所说过的全部
No one nowadays has a memory that’s good enough to memorize Homer, and we do tend to think
我们倾向于认为书里都是真的而不会像和人对话一样
that things in books are true and we can’t interrogated them the same way we could in
探询它们
conversation.
但总的来说利大于弊这对于我们现在
But overall by and large the benefits outweighed the harms and I think that’s going to be true
应对的新技术来说也是这样
for the new technology that we’re grappling with now.

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