Code Overload Part 3 by Ron Steinman

As a civilian, using a cell phone, to text or access an app while driving is multi-tasking at its most dangerous. It is a way of life. It is something else when a specialist in the military sitting in command center has to multi-task when lives are at stake. More than ever, these highly trained young men and women have to handle multiple drones on the prowl, masses of incoming intelligence, including thousands of hours of video, high altitude photos and untold hours of phone and what the military calls “signal intelligence” all of which comes flooding in faster than the mind can process it. It should be easy to understand why some failure ensues. People make mistakes because the mind becomes fatigued from information overload as it tries to process all the information they have to deal with. Despite powerful algorithms created to relieve the human mind of these decisions of life and death, it is the person in front of the screen who makes the ultimate decision to pull the trigger. It is a case where multi-tasking gets in the way of high performance. It is a hothouse situation where the mind is perhaps dizzy from intense pressure and the possible confusion brought on by constantly updated information. The failure of an accurate interpretation of all the information can result as it sometimes does in a disaster we have become accustomed to in Afghanistan. I am sure our military is trying mightily to solve this problem, one it calls, as I have, information overload. It will only get worse before it gets better. I am cynical enough to believe that by then, a new problem will emerge that dwarfs this one.
Algorithms are becoming the new magic bullets. There are enough scientists, researchers and writers of code who believe they can create a computer that works faster, or certainly more selectively, than does the human brain. These people think, “the human brain just isn’t processing data fast enough.” We think the brain has limits, but of that, we are not certain. People in labs want to augment the brain with new algorithms that, according to the latest information, will enhance our life experience and make us better at coping with every piece of information that comes our way. We, I am sure, recognize that the socialization of the world is increasingly dominating how we live. What are we to do about maintaining our fragile individuality?

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8 responses to “Code Overload Part 3 by Ron Steinman

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