Tuesday, February 27, 2018

The dumber the better

The small little Orient Vijay television set did not have a remote control to lower the volume or to turn it off.  Channel changing was not even an option because, well, there was nothing to watch other than the government channel--Doordarshan.  A habit of sitting in front of the idiot box began.

No, that is not the dumbing that this post is about.

The old-fashioned dumbing down is nothing compared to the contemporary dumbing down.

In case you have not noticed it, "smart" is all around.  We in higher education have been familiar with the ironical usage of smart for a very long time.  Some "smart" guy decided to refer to classrooms equipped with technology--computer with internet access, audio-video devices, and a projector--as "smart classrooms."  Don't ask my why; to this date, I have no idea why a classroom with gadgets should be referred to as smart classrooms.

Of course, many of us in higher ed also started remarking that as classrooms got smarter, the system started dumbing down the education, which is the very reason why we have classrooms.

So, yes, "smart" has been around for a long time in my professional world.

Now, it is rapidly diffusing into everyday life as well.  A whole bunch of "so-called smart things — everyday devices that are connected to the internet."  It is subtle, right, how "smart" has come to mean being connected to the internet?  You are dumb when you are offline!  Oh, wait, I have already blogged about that ;)

I don't understand the fascination with the latest gadgets that are supposedly "smart."  Why would anybody want an Alexa at home to turn the lights on or off?  Is walking up five feet to reach the switch on the wall a Herculean task?

We seem to be intentionally rushing towards the Wall-E world.  Obese people sitting on their loungers, eating and drinking, while staring at digital screens, and barking commands to robots to get refills of drinks and anything else.

Maybe I am not "smart" enough to understand the tremendous value of these "smart gadgets."  I am proud of my dumbness, and will gladly wear the  badge of the global village idiot!


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