On Monday, November 11, 2013 10:05:15 PM UTC-6, Hetware wrote: > I'm in a conundrum twixt the use of computers to do my thinking for me, > and learning to think for myself. Should a child learn his times > tables, or learn to use a computer to do it for him?
The same can be asked of cars, motorized lawn mowers, leaf blowers and so on. Before addressing the question directly, take a look at the consequences that this frame of mind has engendered: a population whose constricted idea of mobility has equated anything beyond a mere few hundred meters as being "inaccessible by vehicle", whose lack of physical activity has led to reduced physical condition that no amount of spending time in the gym can ever hope to make up for, and a consequence rise in obesity and the diseases related to it. Who pays for this way of life, particularly when the rising demand that the ill medical consequences of these activities place on the health care system have quite literally made the entire health care system (at least in the US) buckle under the ever-expanding weight of its patrons.
Never mind what all the sitting passively in front of the TV does to those (particularly Baby Boomers) who spend all their time doing it.
What will you do when your car is stolen or runs out, or the price of gas becomes too high or your calculator is lost or stolen or your access to the internet interrupted or disrupted by those who see your dependency as a perfect Achilles Heel for launching a devastating attack? Or your Cable bills runs too high or Cable decides to cut off mainstream networks?
In the time it takes to even move the lips and tongue to express a math problem like 25 x 48 (1200) or to activate the neurons that move the fingers to do the calculations on a machine with, you could have already thought through both problem and solution -- as could any person experienced enough in doing calculations with their own brain. Would you rather get Alzheimers or exacerbate the condition, if your already have it because you didn't use your brain?
Would you rather get 50 pounds overweight, constantly complaining (at the age of 25, say) that you can't do the things you did you "used to do" when you were young (a few years before)?
If I can walk 40 miles in a day and routinely travel a 13 mile route hundreds of times both ways, (including stints last summer in going out at 100 degrees F in double layers and doing wind sprints and hill runs along the way and expanding the trip to 15 miles each way), and mow the lawn by hand (1/3 acre in 1-2 hours) and rake the leaves by hand (1/6 acre in 45-60 minutes) and be in a such a physical condition that I have YET to reach my peak as a consequence (with weight at where it was when I was 20); and if I can routinely do those multidigit calculations and square roots (and limited degree of sines and cosines) without the machine -- outpacing people who have to spend time pressing keys or asking a voice recognition unit the problem -- then what excuse does someone anyone else have for not likewise getting off their lazy ass!
So, yes, there is still a need to do stuff in your head. Behind your question is a frame of mind that has pervaded all other walks of life and is _in toto_ extremely unhealthy.
Of course, if you're in disagreement, then why stop with math?
It may come to be quite easy enough to arrange for the alternative and completely remove the human from the loop -- not just with calculations, but with music production, modelling, cinematography and photography. Even at the embryonic stage this line of development illustrated below may be in, take a look at it and what it bodes for your future: