published: Friday, February 01, 2013
Future scientists and voters find the future a mixed bag
By CHRISTOPHER TUFFLEY
SEBRING -- Common wisdom has it that American education is second rate, and teenagers are addicted to the virtual world of video games and the Internet.
For over a half hour a group of International Baccalaureate students at Sebring High School proved common wisdom to be wrong.
The students discussed science, technology and the future. While the conversation sometimes triggered side discussions, the students overwhelmingly took turns speaking, and listened to each other carefully. As a result, there was a true exchange of ideas. On the whole, the students were excited about the future.
Despite having grown up on a wave of new technology, today's teens have mixed feelings about where the technical revolution is heading.
"Relying on technology we lose the ability to do for ourselves," Renz Torres said. "We get too much into comfort."
Abbey Currence agreed, "People are too reliant on GPS; they don't pay attention to directions or landmarks."
"How long does it take to remember the way home when you forget your GPS," asked Lindsay Everest, to general laughter.
Evan Napper saw the issue a different way, "Humans find the way to do something," he said. "Technology enhances."
"But real life is starting to lose its luster; the Internet is more intense. People can't talk in person any more," Logan Carlson said.
"We use the phone instead of spending time with others," Jake Hitt agreed.
"Texting doesn't interrupt anyone, and it's faster," Meghan Griffin said.
"There's a draw back to texting -- it can't be sarcastic, you have to type, 'this is a joke,'" Lindsay replied.
"Technology might go in another direction," Shivani Sookchand suggested, pointing out innovations might not be concrete machines, but changes in the Internet.
The subject of robots was raised, and the students were deeply divided in their thinking, especially when it came to artificial intelligence. Some pointed out robots have advantages.
In medicine, Meghan said, "shifting to robotics will mean fewer mistakes."
Others wondered about the possible advantages, but were concerned about the relationship between robot and human.
"Computers only know as much as you program into it," Kevin Wheaton said. "It's more possible for us to become more robotic, than for robots to become like us."
"Things can learn logically, but they can't make the emotional connection," Shivani said.
"But they're working, so a computer can learn to adapt," said Logan. "Maybe we could make a computer to think it has emotions if people program (the emotions) in."
"Even if that were true," Kevin replied, "a robot wouldn't have intuition or judgment. What if they took over?"
Someone else suggested that human brains could be programmed instead. Another told about an experimental body suit for the disabled that is controlled by the wearer's mind.
Arman said, "We use only 10 to 15 percent of our brain. In the future we'll work to access all of it. In the Destroyer series novels -- characters tap into their own minds."
"We'd be almost like computers," He worried.
"Would it create social problems? Super people, super soldiers," asked Abbey. Could a class system run by elitists be a result?
Shivan disagreed, "It's totally wrong that robots will take over, because they don't crave power. Humans are seeking power; humans are obsessed with things."
"A theory's out there about the flow of the universe in cycles," Arman said. "There are periods of higher conscious and low. We're coming out of a bad period -- World War II and strife -- into a time of enlightenment, of knowledge and creativity."
"I believe in cycles," Shivani replied. " World War II, advanced medical technology, and the desire for power advanced society."
Lindsay was also optimistic. "A period of strife leads to a period of enlightenment," she said.
IB (by: Clarrisa Kinley - 2/6/2013)
I am an IB freshman. As a freshmen in IB I have all A's and one C. The C is not even in an IB class, it is in Geometry; I am terrrible in math, but everything else I do well. In IB you have to be super organized and do your homework on time. Also studying is a must; that's how I pass my tests. At first I was very unorganized and did not study or do my homework (which is not that much). Now I learned how to be organized and I am doing well. My brother is a senior in IB and he is doing well because he studies. When projects come along, if you simply follow a rubric, your are in good shape even if you did the project wrong.
IB (by: shsstudent - 2/5/2013)
IB is not all that people make it out to be. I am not in IB, but many of my friends are in IB. IB is not terrible but when people talk of IB it's as if they have some all mighty knowledge that "non-IB" does not have. I saw one of my IB friend's math book, and looked at some equations thinking I could never find the answer. Turns out they were doing things I was doing my freshman year. Another thing is that my cousin, in Jacksonville, joined IB his freshman year. He was a straight A student until he joined IB and got mainly F's. I am not saying to cancel IB because many people like IB, and for certain people it helps. But we shouldn't look at IB students as if they are discovering the next best thing.
IB (by: IB-Daddy-O - 2/1/2013)
The IB program is great, but several the Highlands program needs to make sure the teachers are up to it and understand it better. My son is a senior in IB (and doing well, so this is NOT sour grapes). IB teachers need to better understand the CONCEPT of why they are there - not simply give the kids LOADS of "busy work" ...
IB (by: Shlemiel Levinowitz - 2/1/2013)
Always pleased to read about IB students and their thoughts. I know many in the area do not approve of the IB program, but I believe that is due to their ignorance about the program. I always support advanced/advancing education, and we, Highlands County, are fortunate to have a program as such.
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