While preparing my new online course about essay writing, I inserted a picture of a brain in the proofreading section and this got me thinking beyond the obvious connection.
In the course, I am discussing the importance of proofreading and editing one’s work. There are many tools one can use including various spell / grammar checking software, the old-fashioned dictionary or proofreading books (yes, they still exist!), or have a friend help out. (Pick a smart friend by the way.)
The picture of a human brain is included to remind students that software does not catch all possible mistakes. In fact, sometimes it is quite poor at helping with corrections. (Yes, even Grammarly fails miserably in many cases.)
Thinking about this made me happy!
I am happy that the best “computer” of all is still very useful, and we have it with us all the time carried in a neat little container called our head.
The brain is such an amazing organic “machine” which is somewhat analogous to a computer or mechanical device; and, yet, it is not. It is far more than strings of 0’s and 1’s or even the finest gears.
It is true that a computer can list all kinds of facts and information, but none of it is useful without the brain.
What good is any of it without some intervention of the human intelligence? In fact, to retrieve the list of facts, sites, and blogs took someone acting and using the ultimate “computer” in the first place.
Once the information is retrieved something needs to be done with it – connections need to be made, new networks to show relevance, explanations on application, revealing the importance either as a reminder or to explore something original, etc.
The computer will do none of that.
So, the computer and various software programs as tools are very useful and amazing, but they are not replacements for the brain or thought.
Learning is not limited to being able to Google something!
And I am very happy that it isn’t. Perhaps one day computers will be more organic, emotional, intuitive, and capable of more complexity than they are now. (At some point, however, do they stop being computers anyway?)
In the meantime, let’s not ignore or neglect the amazing organ we have with us for 70-100 years (how long did your last computer / device last?), working 24 / 7 and capable of constant improvement.
Use the tools available – yes!
Always use them; however, with the intent to add to, expand, and improve the best “computer” ever – YOU!