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eikonabridge
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14 Jun 2015, 9:51 am

Technological singularity

Every day we can do more, with less. More and more things are being created, at faster and faster pace. The Encyclopedia Britannica used to weigh 129 pounds, for its 32-volume, 2010 edition. Today, its 2015 edition has a content of 4.6 GB which would fit into a regular thumb drive, weighing less than one ounce.

Cisco's outgoing CEO John Chambers recently gave a speech at the Cisco Live 2015 conference, where he provided a somber outlook for big companies: in another 10 years, 40% of today's companies will be dead. (http://www.cbsnews.com/news/ciscos-john-chambers-has-some-dire-predictions/) Why? In his words, "companies fail because they keep doing the right thing too long.” Today's world is all about innovation, about creativity, about doing things differently...at larger scale, at faster pace.

What can we say about today's workforce? Will 40% of our workforce be left behind in another 10 years, due to the lack of innovation and creativity?

John cited the case of Uber as a success story. Uber disrupted the traditional taxicab business. Today in the USA, except at the airports, Uber is basically taking over the jobs of traditional taxicab drivers. However, I believe that tomorrow will be even more different: Google is already developing self-driving cars. In a not-too-distant future, Uber's business model will be in turn under challenge. Let's say that day has arrived, that people can get anywhere without a human chauffeur driver. That is, robots/machines are doing perfectly fine the jobs that once belonged to humans. Now let us look back from then: what were those taxicab drivers doing, in the first place? Why are humans doing the jobs of machines, and then complain about jobs lost to machines? Where is the dignity of the human race?

I once went to a store and picked up a computer. I just moved into a new city, and was applying for a new driver's license. The Department of Motor Vehicles gave me a temporary paper license, and punched a hole on my old plastic license. Big problem at the checkout line in the store: the checkout lady methodically asked to see my license, when I gave her my credit card. Sure, she was quick to point out there was a hole in my license. All right, I showed her also my temporary paper license. She stopped the checkout line, called her supervisor. The supervisor told the checkout lady to tell me that they could not accept my ID and therefore could not accept my credit card. She asked me whether I had other cards. I had a debit card, I hated to use debit cards. But under the circumstances, I yielded. The checkout lady ran my debit card and the transaction went through OK. I could see the triumphant smile in her face: she has followed all the protocols, with machine precision. A few days later I visited another store, where I saw some automated self-checkout machines. It was the early days of those machines. It made me wonder: if we need someone to do a job with machine precision, then why don't we just use machines? Why are humans doing the jobs of machines, in the first place?

The truth is, we have already reached what's known as the "Technological Singularity" (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Technological_singularity). We have entered this singularity age a few years already. But there are people that are still sleeping, thinking that tomorrow will be the same as today.

This is particularly true about our attitude regarding autism, and social sciences in general. People need to wake up. The good old days of doing social sciences using two-point correlations is disappearing fast. You keep doing the good old "right thing," and then you will soon find yourself among the endangered 40% that John Chambers was referring to.

What's the two-point correlation that I am talking about? The most recent example I have been citing is a study in Denmark that showed circumcision is linked to autism (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/01/20/circumcision-autism-new-study_n_6503106.html). Seriously? In today's technological-singularity world, is that the best some researchers can come up with? When are we going to stop doing the two-point correlation type of science? So many research efforts have been wasted in studying links of autism to things like: vaccines, air pollution, mother's obesity, cow-milking drinking, etc. etc. We as a society has been behaving like single-bit (on-off switch) machines:

- autistic children don't talk: so we overwhelm them with speech therapy
- autisitc children don't socialize: so we overwhelm them with behavioral therapy
- autistic children are hyperactive: we give them drugs
- autistic children have sensory problems: more drugs, or we deprive the children from problematic sensory stimuli

When are we going to stop behaving like single-bit machines? Why aren't we seeing the full picture of autism? Where is our understanding of autism? Are we going keep doing the good old "right thing" that has not worked for 70+ years? Why are we trying so hard to belong to the endangered 40% of John Chambers?

The good old way of doing social sciences has had its place in history, just like checkout stand cashiers, just like taxicab drivers. Parents, educators and researchers can either strive to adapt to the modern reality, or join the 40% and be swept into history in another 10 years.

In today's world, you can't pretend you can understand autism without some basic grasp of STEM fields. Frankly, it's not STEM any more. Today, it's STREAM: Science, Technology, Research, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics. The two newer components: Research and Art, are especially crucial to the formation of the future members of our society. Research, because it's no longer about "what should I learn", but about "what should I teach myself and others." Art, because it's the way how we can express ourselves and be creative, and be humans instead of machines. The mission of schools is no longer about teaching our kids specific subjects, but about teaching our kids to teach themselves, for the rest of their lives. In my words, it's not about learning, it's about META-LEARNING.

In my daughter's school, a public school, mind you, kids are making animated movies in their 1st grade's STREAM curriculum. Next year, in her second grade, they will have a robotic class. Here is the first animated movie that my daughter made in school (she is 7 years old). I added the captions afterwards.



Here is a story and a drawing that my daughter came up with a few months ago, I just made it into a simple boomerang-style animation.



The world doesn't stop moving forward. If little 7-year-old children can make animated movies, what's the excuse of the parents? Is "I don't know how to..." a valid excuse? Of course not. If you know how to google, you know how to make movies, for your children. Your children are learning about STREAM, about META-LEARNING skills. But, what about YOU? What if instead of "I would like to take a course," you step up and say "I would like to give a course"? That's what the letters R and A are all about, in the STREAM acronym, after all.

Autistic children are specifically born for our modern technological world. I have repeated, time and again, that the problems with autism do not reside with the children: the children are fine, they are perfectly fine. None of the sensory issues, tantrum problems, speech and social shortcomings, etc. are inherent to autism. It is the parents and educators who need to catch up to the modern technological world. Children are not the ones to blame. Nelson Mandela once said: "People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart." Children are not born to hate or be troublemakers.


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14 Jun 2015, 11:17 am

Quote:
Autistic children are specifically born for our modern technological world. [...] It is the parents and educators who need to catch up to the modern technological world.

Oh I disagree. I think that's a ridiculous thing to assert, actually.

First of all, autism has been around since before the 'modern technological world' so the idea doesn't make sense. Also, are you religious? From your other posts I would have guessed not, but what are you talking about they re "specifically born for..."? Unless you mean God is orchestrating this, that is wrong. Nature is not creating specific people for a specific purpose, that's not how it works at all.

The idea that autistic people are always tech/science geeks is a stereotype. Some are. Maybe a lot are. But not all. There are autistic people who have other interests besides STEM (e.g. literature) and are not remotely inclined towards those things.

One of my kids does not like watching videos of any kind (TV, youtube, whatever). In order for me to get him to watch a video from start to finish, I would have to force him to sit there and probably even hold his head in place to be looking at the screen. I fail to see how doing that is better than forcing him to do speech therapy. "You're autistic so you're going to watch TV, because that's what autistic children were born to do, damn it!" Uh, no... My children are individuals and I will treat them as such.


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14 Jun 2015, 5:38 pm

OP: Why does someone have to be blamed? Seriously. Of course the child should not be blamed for his/her wiring differences. I don't see anyone one on here saying they should be.

Spectrum kids are as different from each other as NT kids are from each other and there is no one protocol.

All of us on here, from what I can tell, do the best we can using the advice that is out there and adapting it for our unique kids when they don't work. (And they often don't -- because again --- spectrum kids are just as unique (maybe more so) as/than NT kids.)

Edited to add: I almost forgot to highlight this bit from the original post:

"None of the sensory issues, tantrum problems, speech and social shortcomings, etc. are inherent to autism."

This is blatantly false. There are of course variations in how each of these is reflected in each unique child, but they are not a function of poor parenting. They are part of autism. Scaffolding the environment helps some children (and adults), to varying degrees---but it cannot help all children (or adults) combat all autistic related issues. This is hugely insulting to all the parents who try their hardest everyday to help their kids.



eikonabridge
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16 Jun 2015, 7:37 am

WelcomeToHolland wrote:
Quote:
Autistic children are specifically born for our modern technological world. [...] It is the parents and educators who need to catch up to the modern technological world.

Oh I disagree. I think that's a ridiculous thing to assert, actually.
First of all, autism has been around since before the 'modern technological world' so the idea doesn't make sense.


Well, I can provide a more precise number. I've talked about it in detail already. In my opinion, autism has been with us for about 50,000 years. Please read the entire thread contained in the link below, otherwise you won’t understand what I am going to talk about next.
http://www.wrongplanet.net/forums/viewtopic.php?f=19&t=276234

Quote:
From your other posts I would have guessed not, but what are you talking about they re "specifically born for..."?


Well, I apologize, but it’s a bit hard for me to explain things to people without any scientific training, at all. You’ll see I am not the only one in this regard. Read on.

First, please do keep in mind that human genetics is a statistical game: 250 million sperm trying to fertilize one single egg. Many people simply just don't understand how genetic works. A paragraph from my posting:

"Yes, mutations happens every day. Cancer is a prime example. When it happens to gametes, that's where evolution comes into play. 250 million sperm fertilizing an egg, and the genetic variation in 250 million sperm is tremendous. It's statistical in nature. In math this corresponds to the "multi-armed bandit" problem http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multi-armed_bandit. There is always a decision to make about exploration vs. exploitation..."

The genetic diversity in one single adult male's sperm is just as varied as the genetic diversity of an entire society. This is well-known since 2012.
http://www.the-scientist.com/?articles.view/articleNo/32389/title/Surprising-Sperm-Diversity/
In other words, an adult male's sperm is not only designed to shape the offspring of a family, but it is also designed to shape the offspring of an entire society.

The one solid link between autism and something else is parental age. Here is the most recent update study.
http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2015/06/10/413205921/more-evidence-that-parents-ages-could-influence-autism-risk

I have already explained my opinion on the origin of autism. Now, to end the suspense of my apparent incoherent comments so far, statistically, please tell me:
(1) In the last three generations, have people been marrying earlier or later in their lives?
(2) In the last three generations, have people been staying in school longer, or shorter? Have their education gotten higher, or lower?
(3) In the last three generations, have people (men and women) have had their children earlier, or later?

(For some of these numbers, see e.g.:
http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0005061.html
http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/databriefs/db152.htm
http://www.census.gov/hhes/socdemo/educ ... istorical/
Image
Note: birth control pills become available in the USA in 1960)

Do you understand how "compound interest" works? What do you expect would happen with autism in three generations, with people continuing to marry later and later, and having children later and later?

Mother Nature knew and designed autistic people, 50,000 years ago. Putting all these bits of information together, I can only conclude that she knew ahead of us what's needed in a technological world, where people get higher education and marry late and have children late. I have repeated time and again, don't underestimate the intelligence of Mother Nature: she plays with more DNA molecules than the entire memory capacity of all our supercomputers, combined.

To me, Mother Nature looks pretty smart. In comparison, we the humans look pretty dumb, especially when you look at most of the research papers on autism.

So I stand by my words: autistic children are specifically born for our technological world.

[url]
The idea that autistic people are always tech/science geeks is a stereotype. Some are. Maybe a lot are. But not all. There are autistic people who have other interests besides STEM (e.g. literature) and are not remotely inclined towards those things.
[/url]

Autistic people are just, erh, people. Who says that they all are scientists and engineers? But, in order to thrive in tomorrow's technology-oriented world, you need basic grasp of STREAM, no matter what your profession is. It is no accident that ALL children in my daughter's school are in STREAM curriculum, and that all the parents are raving about it. I am pretty sure not all parents want their children to be scientists/engineers. In my humble opinion, you can’t do well in tomorrow’s world without STREAM skills, no matter your profession is. I also believe that you CAN'T understand autism without some basic grasp of STEM/STREAM. You don't have the right vocabulary, you can't do the job. Richard Feynman put it very simply: "Hell, if I could explain it to the average person, it wouldn't have been worth the Nobel prize." We can't bring Richard Feynman down to the level of the "average person," but we can bring the level of the "average person" up to the level Richard Feynman. And that's what STREAM is all about. That's what the letter R stands for.

(Disclaimer: I am a swing voter, without affiliation.) Hillary Clinton, love her or hate her, said one thing that I think was right: we need more funding for early childhood education. http://www.bloomberg.com/politics/articles/2015-06-15/hillary-clinton-proposes-more-funding-for-early-childhood-education. On my website you will see that I don't make a distinction between autism special education and neurotypical education. We need education reform for all, badly.

Incidentally, I find another issue that I agree with Hillary. Kind of interesting that she would mention it publicly.

"...Clinton also took a question about educating older kids, especially those with ADHD and other attention disorders. While some do need medications, “medicating kids because we have not yet figured out how to deal with their particular needs” is not the right approach."

Quote:
One of my kids does not like watching videos of any kind (TV, youtube, whatever). In order for me to get him to watch a video from start to finish, I would have to force him to sit there and probably even hold his head in place to be looking at the screen. I fail to see how doing that is better than forcing him to do speech therapy. "You're autistic so you're going to watch TV, because that's what autistic children were born to do, damn it!" Uh, no... My children are individuals and I will treat them as such.


You are missing the letter E in LIVE, as E in Experience of the child. That's all. I handcraft each video clip for each of my children individually. My video clips are always related to their personal life experience, related to their personal interests. That’s how I catch their attention. I have repeated time and again the story about my son. He had zero interest in my drawings. That's ZERO, NADA. He could not focus on my cartoon drawings, at all, when he was 2.5 years old. He was hyperactive, couldn't sit still for 3 seconds. However, once I realized how to modulate my messages into his interests, he learned to focus on my drawing within days, and learned to READ sentences in a few months. All way before he was 3 years old. Hyperactivity? Gone. Eye contact? From non-existing to straight-into-your-eyes.

So when people tell me that their children are not visual, I tell them, yes, I know, I have been there. I made the same mistake before, and wasted 2.5 years of my son's life.

Next week I'll talk more about modulation.

Do you guys notice some difference between my postings and yours? My postings have plenty of links to source information and pictures. Now ask yourselves, why are our public schools adding the letters R and A to STEM to make it become STREAM? That's right, too many adults (a.k.a parents) lack these basic R and A skills. Many don’t even know how to google for information. The new generation of kids will be fine: they'll grow up to be better parents. If you are a parent today and you don't feel any pressure from today's 7-year olds, then I don't know what you are thinking. Sure, our school system has been a failure in the past, and churned out a gazillion of parents without basic R and A skills. But it does not need to stay that way. Cisco's CEO John Chambers puts it succinctly: "Either we disrupt, or we get disrupted." The choice is in each person's hands. Don’t take me wrong, I have plenty of sympathy and compassion towards parents with children on the spectrum. I hang around regularly with tons of parents with children on the spectrum, and it’s great to have support in both directions. But sympathy and compassion are NOT enough to help our children. We need not only to love our children with our hearts: we need to love them with our heads. Tough words, but only tough words can wake yesterday’s parents up. It’s a whole new world out there.

It's no longer a valid excuse to say: "I am not a scientist, so I don't need to do research." Or, "I am not good with drawing picture" or "I don't know how to make movies." Please compare yourself to today's 7-year olds, and understand why I keep saying: "The problem with autism does not reside with the children. It resides with the parents."


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16 Jun 2015, 9:41 am

Eikonabridge: I actually liked you at first. I thought you had something interesting, but you're so condescending, rude, and full of yourself that you've completely lost my vote. You have a sample size of two people for goodness' sake! If YOU have any scientific training at all (and notice how I am not assuming that you don't), then you know a sample size of two is not a good sample size.

Quote:
Well, I apologize, but it’s a bit hard for me to explain things to people without any scientific training, at all. 


Well, luckily I do have scientific training… :roll: The consensus in my field of study is that "Mother Nature" is not a living thing that plans things out intelligently. That way of thinking is spiritual: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mother_Nature
http://www.adishakti.org/our_conscious_earth.htm It's totally fine if you believe in that, but I don't and plenty of people support my position too.

Quote:
Now, to end the suspense of my apparent incoherent comments so far…


You say the comments so far have been "incoherent". Obviously I understand my own comment, but I also understand ASDMommyASDKid's comment. I have no problem understanding it at all. It is not incoherent. Not only was it completely coherent, I even agree with her! So if you find it "incoherent" then maybe the problem lies with you?

Quote:
You are missing the letter E in LIVE, as E in Experience of the child.

No I am not. My son likes to film his own videos, and he won't even watch those- videos he just shot himself. I know what my son's interests are and he does not like watching videos about his interests. Your son is one person - he does not represent every single person who has been diagnosed with autism. It is great that it worked for your son, but my son is not your son. What worked for your son will not necessarily work for mine.

Quote:
Do you guys notice some difference between my postings and yours? 

Yes! Yours are all about how great you are compared to other people, and ours are not.
You haven't been posting much in the way of links to actual scholarly research. Mostly to wikipedia and your own website/ book. That's not impressive. I don't usually put links in my answers to wikipedia to explain things that I assume folks are too dumb to understand, because I don't want to assume people are too dumb to understand it AND I assume they are perfectly capable of googling it themselves if they are. I added one above for your benefit though. :)


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16 Jun 2015, 3:12 pm

I am really trying hard to be nice. Honest, I am. If you want to see the effects of autism on someone's communication abilities, look at yourself -- seriously. I don't mean that as insult---this is an autism forum after all, and I certainly have my fair share of communication issues, myself.

What are you attempting to do? Is it an attempt at persuasive speech? Based on what you type, I believe it to be. You are attempting to sell your book and your protocol to parents. Yes? Do you know the basics of persuasive speech? It is not a brain dump of what is in your head with an assumption it is all gold.

You have to understand the audience you are addressing, and target what you write to that audience. It helps when doing so, if you do not dismiss the experiences of the people you are addressing or speak to them in an insulting matter. That means you might not want to imply that if people do not agree with you they cannot understand the simplest things.

When you get responses that are critical, be introspective and really think about whether or not there may be some value in what other people are saying. It does not mean other people are right; but if you hear a number of similar comments, you might want to seriously consider them, especially when your ultimate goal is to market a product to people in that position.

I could not agree more with Welcome To Holland about your need to follow and apply an appropriate scientific methodology, if you are to claim a scientific mantle for your work. What she says about sample size is completely valid, and you persist in ignoring this point anytime it is brought up.

You are not the only one here with a scientific education and many of us I suspect are quite familiar with statistical analysis and how it should be properly applied if one is going to claim what they are doing is science. Many of us share anecdotes, and there is nothing wrong with that when it is acknowledged as anecdotal evidence and as possessing all the inherent limitations that anecdotes have.

eikonabridge wrote:
Next week I'll talk more about modulation.


Is this going to be a weekly series of infomercials?



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17 Jun 2015, 4:40 pm

I have posted several times in your threads that much of your approach and methods would be well worth trying with autistic children, esp. those who display similarities to your children. The less social/comm/verbal at an early age approach is directly in contrast with the typical ABA approach, and I agree with your approach completely. The visual/manual approach is great for children who show natural inclination in these areas. This may be evident from an early age for some autistic children. Also, I agree that it is most helpful when parents individualize things to their children. It takes a lot of work, but it can work well, as I have observed myself.

I also suggested some time ago that your delivery is not good for getting other parents to try your methods with their children. Your claims of autism being definitely this or that or how autistic brain definitely works are harming your message. They are a turnoff for people who may otherwise try your methods, if you presented your methods simply as something that worked for your kids, and described concisely the general ideas of the approach without making strong claims that you can't back up, as there is not enough scientific evidence in the world to back them up. I am studying this area of neuroscience research in grad school, and I would never make claims as definitive as yours. Strong claims in long postings don't add to your purpose, if your purpose is to help others and improve the lives of other autistic children. Description of what you did and how it worked without unsupported claims are much more convincing.


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18 Jun 2015, 9:18 am

Guys, I think he is monologuing. I used to feel offended, but I now realize that this is serving a need for him. I try to read to see if there is anything I can "gather" from his perspective that might be useful, then I move on.

We have all said these things to him before; he doesn't hear it. The only reason I am "popping in" now is to point out that his monologuing serves a purpose for him. He should be allowed that. But trying to engage him probably only serves to irritate you. I know each time I try to type a reasonable, reasoned response, my hackles get up and I start feeling all twisted up inside, so I'm not going to do it anymore.

I'm not saying not to try to help him see what he is doing. Of course we all want to help people we see struggling or getting in the way of themselves. But don't do it at the expense of your own balance. I don't think anyone will ever win. He is aware that many of us have advanced degrees, many of us have been/are involved in research, many of us probably have IQs that match or surpass his. None of this matters to him. If you have a kid who monologues think of what purpose you serve when he or she does it: none. When my son used to monologue I could literally leave the room and he wouldn't care as long as he knew I could still hear him. He didn't require a response from me. He only needed to talk about what he wanted to talk about.

Unless of course, you need to pick a fight...then I guess this is your perfect opportunity! LOL! Sometimes I need to fight...just not right now :)

I do agree with btbnnyr, though, and it is a shame that the contributions he could possibly make are going to be lost in his presentation.

eikonobridge, maybe you could find a way to CONVERSE WITH us, rather than simply LECTURE AT us. Maybe try responding to other people's threads with one or two sentence responses that share specific feedback or insights that are not packaged in a huge post that is presented like an infomercial to sell your stuff? I think people would be more tolerant of your need to monologue if that wasn't your only "contribution" to the community. Maybe try asking some questions to challenge your own assumptions, or pose a question about something you have noticed about yourself or your kids and only listen to the feedback of others, without overriding it with your own perception. I have two very happy and successful kids on the spectrum. Clearly I am doing something right, by your own definition of "successful parenting." Maybe instead of just thinking that you need to educate and indoctrinate me, you could consider that I might have insights and feedback that you could incorporate, either with your own kids or in your conceptual framework of autism as a whole?


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18 Jun 2015, 9:31 pm

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Guys, I think he is monologuing. I used to feel offended, but I now realize that this is serving a need for him. I try to read to see if there is anything I can "gather" from his perspective that might be useful, then I move on.


Yes I think you are right. Irritating because I think he has a good idea, but I should let it go. I would break into song, but then you'd know that Disney has infiltrated my life and that has to remain a secret.


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19 Jun 2015, 7:44 am

I think you are mostly right, InThisTogether. To me, it is not truly the same as monologuing, which I would not care too much about, other than the condescension in this particular set of monologues.

It is a planned, regularly occurring advertisement, so it is like condescending, spam. So to me, if he is going to use this space for that, it makes sense to challenge what he says. I don't do it all the time, so I don't think it looking for a fight so much as being able to talk to the (metaphorical) spammer.



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26 Jun 2015, 6:37 pm

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Is this going to be a weekly series of infomercials?



Why does it feel like I'm being sold a car by a used car salesman?