How much can we forget? How much can we not learn, letting machines do the task?

Many years ago, ‘phone directory’ signified a big, printed book full of numbers arranged alphabetically. Now, it is just a feature in our smartphones where you search.

We used to remember phone numbers in our head. Now, I remember, at best, 2 phone numbers.

I have never used calculators in school. Now, I assume it is reasonably normal to use, in schools and exams.

We used to carry printed maps to find out way while driving. Now, we use GPS and Google Maps.

Whatever we used to do, ‘manually’, with our brain and memory, and some printed aid, is now being filled with technology. So, we are actively looking at what to forget… or what not to learn as a skill because technology can help us do that easily.

But, children cannot not learn numbers. They need to know numbers and the many functions they can be used with to be able to use a calculator. Ditto with autocorrect/autofill functions while using language – we need to know the basics of the language in order to know whether the autofill is accurate!

Do you know the extent of this line of thought? At this point, Adobe Photoshop uses this perspective in a tool called ‘Content Aware Fill’, where you can isolate an object/area in an image and Photoshop will remove it and fill that space with data from adjacent pixels.

Earlier, a user of Photoshop had to do this ‘manually’, filling that space almost pixel by pixel.

The next level of this perspective is Content Aware Fill in Adobe After Effects, where the same thing happens in video!! Take a look!

This is remarkable! I do wonder where we are heading, as a species, though, by constantly unloading our knowledge into machines. All that free space up there and the free time should have us bringing incredible progress to our species. Or, perhaps it is happening… like the photograph of the black hole, recently.

A related, excellent and thought-provoking article: How much can we afford to forget, if we train machines to remember?

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