What Does it Mean to be Literate in the Age of Google?
What does it mean to be literate at a time when you can search billions of texts in less than 300 milliseconds? Although you might think that “literacy” is one of the great constants that transcends the ages, the skills of a literate person have changed substantially over time as texts and technology allow for new kinds of reading and understand. Knowing how to read is just the beginning of it — knowing how to frame a question, pose a query, how to interpret the texts you find, how to organize and use the information you discover, how to understand your metacognition — these are all critical parts of being literate as well. In this talk Russell will review what literacy is today, in the age of Google, and show how some very surprising and unexpected skills will turn out to be critical in the years ahead. We have created powerful new tools for the mind. Thing is, those tools are constantly evolving and changing even as the things they operate on change as well. This puts us in the position of having to learn how to find tools, and understanding the substrate on which they work. Literacy in these days is not just reading and writing, but also understanding what knowledge tools are available, and who they can be used in interesting new ways. And the role of the designer turns out to be critical in this new understanding of literacy.
Dan Russell is the Uber Tech Lead for Search Quality and User Happiness at Google in Mountain View, CA. He earned his PhD in computer science, specializing in Artificial Intelligence until he realized that amplifying human intelligence was his real passion. His day job is researching how people search and the ways they come to learn about the world through Google. His 20% job is teaching the world to search more effectively. Dan enjoys teaching, learning, running, and music, preferably all in one day.