ICT & Computing in Education

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Two effects of new technology

Here are a couple of interesting cartoon strips about the (possible) effects of new technology. Yesterday’s one is more about unintended consequences, while today’s is really about how apparently intelligent software and monitoring systems might be fooled.

Here are the links:

Unintended consequences of new technology

How intelligent systems can be fooled

The horror of unintended consequences? Picture from James Vaughn http://www.flickr.com/photos/x-ray_delta_one/I think there are serious points to be discussed with a class or even colleagues. I’ve been watching a series first aired in the 1970s called ‘I, Claudius’. One of the things that struck me in one of the episodes was how ‘printing’ was done in those (ie Roman) days: a room full of copy writers whose job it was, literally, to copy out a manuscript. This system prevailed until relatively recent times: Anthony Trollope’s first job involved copy writing for the Post Office.

Apart from the obvious point that that kind of job became obsolete first with the advent of the printing press and then with the advent of the photocopier, I wonder how far it was a selling point for an organisation like a publisher to have lots of copy writers.

The other cartoon, about fooling intelligent systems, brings to mind the futility of trying to create an e-safe environment for pupils, especially in a mobile, 3 or 4G-enabled world, through automated filtering systems alone. It can’t be done: you have to have a different, or at least a wider approach, involving discussion, Responsible Use Policies, getting the parents on board, and so on. In my opinion, relying on automated systems alone may enable you to tick a box, but really it is giving you a false sense of security.

Anyway, hope you enjoy the cartoons!

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(c) Terry Freedman