Guest Blog by Vera Dragovic
Human (not artificial) intelligence depends on movement and an inquiring spirit from the earliest age onwards: balance, laterality (the sense of left and right and the ability to cross over the imaginary bodily axis) and the integration of the visual system with bodily movements in the real, tridimensional world are processes of essential importance for both school success and thought processes in general.
In this busy world of modern times, and for the purpose of smooth “functioning” of things, the old rigid philosophy of an upbringing that wants children to be “seen but not heard” is increasingly upon us.
We are either tired, or the weather is bad, or we are living in a small apartment, or we are having guests over and, more often than not, we are sure to provide our children with the cheapest form of entertainment: TV, computer (video-games and Youtube), our smartphones, or all of those together as a “special treat.”
Yes, you heard me fine: the cheapest entertainment! It’s a one-off investment of free Internet content. Handing a tablet to a kid is both cheaper and easier than driving to town to do something which makes kids’ brains grow – God forbid taking a bus – it’s certainly cheaper than tennis lessons and the like. Cold and rainy days can be very long … Much longer than the half or maximum one hour which is the recommended time that youngsters should spend in total staring at a screen in the course of a day (that includes the TV screen). Plus, we can’t expect parents to check in every now and then on what the kids are actually watching on Youtube. At least not until the kids surprise them with the question “Why are some videos marked with the XXX sign?”
Look around. There are more and more kids wearing glasses (not that they are all nerds), more and more obese and hyperactive children (due to lack of exercise), and to me they seem not to be able to talk to one another about anything else except their favourite video game (i.e., about virtual worlds).
Human intelligence was first of all there to resolve issues related to moving around in physical space and then later started dealing with more abstract things. This is where we differ from and what makes us superior to artificial intelligence (AI): AI is devoid of the need to move around and tackle the demands of the physical world and therefore, fortunately, lacks the human abilities of planning and understanding. Having this in mind, if we, as parents, prefer our children to compete with artificial, rather than human flights of intelligence, then we should leave them as they are: sitting at computer desks. We can be sure that we won’t be bothered as long as they are stuck to the screen, but we can be sure to be bothered by certain changes in their behaviour, their way of thinking and their health, that we are bound to notice when they finally do get their eyes of the screen for a brief moment.
Vera Dragovic was nine years in public relations & communications in international environments, when she decided to get out of the limelight into the relative anonymity of program management. She has a degree in the English language which makes her writings understandable. Challenged by the current trends in digital communications, she has been tickled back into writing about and possibly working in communications again. Vera was born and raised in Belgrade and has for almost four years now been a resident of Dublin, Ireland.