Steve Jobs’ Work at Apple as an Example of Connective Thinking

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Write like a Technology innovator! Make original thesis claims and body paragraph conclusions!

As I noted in class today, your revisions of Paper 2 will need to focus on making an original claim about the way that technology shapes our thinking: the tendency in this draft was for everyone to restate Carr’s own thesis without contributing a new perspective on the subject. Remember: this assignment question does not spoon feed you a specific topic (e. g. the relationship between Fiction and Authority in Paper 1), so you will have to invent YOUR OWN perspective (e. g. Critical thinking and [Something Else]) Don’t just tell us that the Internet has a negative effect on our critical thinking: that is Carr’s idea. 

You’ll have to bring in a new, original perspective: one that comes from the other two readings.  This original thesis should develop from your own work in Paper 1 or the Close Reading Assignment: how is Creativity related to this discussion? How would Carr’s discussion relate to the reading of fiction? Is Censorship relevant to Carr’s discussion? What role does authority or political power play in Carr’s discussion?…  Essentially, in your thesis claim, you are asking, “What if we placed Carr’s discussion within a new context?)

A discussion I just heard on an NPR program, “Here and Now,” helps cover the various ways in which Jobs revolutionized Technology’s impact on our daily lives.  Charting the innovations with which Jobs is credited might help you understand the kind of innovation that is required of something as low-tech as a “connective” body paragraph:  He “connected” two different ideas that typically were not thought of belonging together. His work is a great example of “connective” or “essayistic” thinking – asking “what if…?” to come up with a new perspective on a commonly held idea or belief.

Jobs not only helped develop a computing system, but he also required that that system be beautiful.  This connection between beauty and technology was not something that was expected in the field before Apple.  (Technology is typically evaluated by the quality of its output, disregarding the user’s experience in working with it.  What if technology was not only functional, but also beautiful?)

As Michelle and Shardae noted in class today, Apple also “connected” human logic with computing logic: the Mac operating system is often considered more “humane,” and less cold. Typically, we understand computers to organize information according to the logic of mathematical equations: the human has to adapt to the computer’s system of logic (see Carr’s essay). Michelle and Shardae noted, though, that the Mac computing system organized information in a more intuitive manner by anticipating human needs and human understanding by making the system as user-friendly as possible.  (What if computing algorhythms could be shaped to fit the more “fuzzy logic” [towards the end of Carr’s essay] of human patterns of thought?)

Here is the link to the program:
http://www.wbur.org/media-player?source=hereandnow&url=http://hereandnow.wbur.org/2011/10/06/death-steve-jobs&title=The+World+Reacts+To+The+Death+Of+Apple+CEO+Steve+Jobs&segment=death-steve-jobs&pubdate=2011-10-06

If you cannot access this link, or if you want to explore this topic further, look for discussions of Job’s impact on our New Media “technologies of thought” via other  media outets – try other radio or television (or cable) channels, or try an online newspaper or magazine.

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