Recently I've been thinking a lot about the role of human attributes in design and instruction. Computers are taking the jobs of many industries, and some predict over a third of all current jobs will be automated within 10 years, and others say maybe even more than half of the jobs will be done by machines in that time. In thinking about what this means, I am also confused with what Gordon B. Hinckley mentioned in Standing For Something when he said, "Despite all the wonders of this age, we have all the same social problems that we had generations ago." As we increasingly automate our lives, are we truly making them easier? Richer? More fulfilling and exciting?
I am not a luddite. I love my computer, and I am grateful for technology and it plays an integral role in my life. So what should machines do and what should humans do when it comes to designing instruction? Where do we draw the line? Or should we? Grading multiple choice tests seems harmless enough when completed by a computer (indeed any teacher would welcome that!), but what about grading essays using word recognizing rubrics? While this would save a teacher loads of time, and it is very efficient, something is lost.
This same conundrum crops up in many other industries. In pondering my filmmaking experiences and goals for the future I realize that many people are automating the filmmaking process by sending scripts and conditions to folks on the web and after a few days they get a nice animated explanation video slapped together with the help of preprogrammed templates and suggested music clips from a pre arranged library. I think these kinds of films are useful in their place. But is there a place they are useless? I think so. When it comes to videos, the authentic stories of a human being’s experience is unique to their personhood and can not be programmed or faked –at least that is what I think.
Here are a few films I think capture some elements of humanity that simply could not be generated by an algorithm or robot technicians. Then again, the future is unknown and I could be eating my words.