American Teens Invent Cyberbrain

According to Thomas Hobbes, in the state of nature all men have equal power. Smarts, sticks and stones allow us to compensate for our physical differences and achieve parity. His Leviathan has its flaws, but it’s nice to see the process he described at work today, and in such an important environment as our schools. Via Orac comes the reassuring news that students continue to outsmart their teachers and administrators while learning valuable life skills:

Devices including iPods and Zunes can be hidden under clothing, with just an earbud and a wire snaking behind an ear and into a shirt collar to give them away, school officials say.

“It doesn’t take long to get out of the loop with teenagers,” said Mountain View High School Principal Aaron Maybon. “They come up with new and creative ways to cheat pretty fast.”

Mountain View recently enacted a ban on digital media players after school officials realized some students were downloading formulas and other material onto the players.

Furthermore, the administrators’ grasp of statistics and evidence-based reasoning — essential for citizens of the Enlightenment — continues at its all-time high:

Shana Kemp, spokeswoman for the National Association of Secondary School Principals, said she does not have hard statistics on the phenomenon but said it is not unusual for schools to ban digital media players.

“I think it is becoming a national trend,” she said. “We hope that each district will have a policy in place for technology — it keeps a lot of the problems down.”

Look, NASSP, you’ve got your priorities all backwards. Learning at a tender age how to follow prompting from a concealed “wire” is invaluable training for those of America’s youth who wish to enter politics!

To people (including Orac and Rob Knop) wondering why those darn kids are so willing to put energy into cheating when they could get good grades legitimately by putting the same effort into their studies. . . well, I should say that if you’re familiar with the tools you have, then using them isn’t much effort at all. If you have to memorize a lot of random whoosywhatsits, and you know you have a machine which can remember everything, what you do with it is a pretty simple deduction. Moreover, if you have no reason to suspect that what you’re told to memorize will ever be useful to you ever again, then you definitely burden the machine with it!

It’s really a Chinese Room problem. The student doesn’t understand the material, but the combined system student + iPod does. As long as they’re never separated from their iPod ever again, it’s fine! In fact, I believe this marks the first step on our species’ road to cyberization, a procedure which will have many benefits indeed. We should take pride in our nation’s youth and their pioneering spirit!

3 thoughts on “American Teens Invent Cyberbrain”

  1. I have to admit grudgingly that I was always more a fan of Togusa than the Major, at least in the context of Stand Alone Complex.

    I definitely fantasize about having a cyberbrain, though. Those things are hot.

  2. Two friends and I recently finished watching both seasons of Stand Alone Complex on our projector TV. (Absolute nadir of entire series: Zaitsev’s last line in episode 16.) Togusa didn’t really seem to get his act together until the second season. I mean, why didn’t he call for backup when the DEA narc squad showed up to liquidate the Sunflower Society, and why didn’t he take the Murai-vaccine file out himself — Whiskey Tango Foxtrot?

    When we get a couple LED towers built to give the place the proper ambiance, we’ll watch the Solid State Society movie too.

    I gotta admit: anything which makes life more like science fiction, I’ll support. That’s why I read my news online and pretend revolving doors are airlocks.

  3. Let me tell you from bitter experience why the “they will always have access to calculators” argument is crap.

    In a chemistry class, they key in the numbers backwards and come up with 460% as the percent copper in one of its ores. They don’t even realize how ridiculous that is, because they don’t have a piucture in their heads of what the numbers mean.

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