the underrated human brain

From Warren Buffet, as quoted in Seeking Wisdom by Peter Bevelin:

"There was a great article in the New Yorker magazine ... And it got into this speculation of whether or not humans would ever be able to take on computers in chess. Here were these computers doing hundreds of thousands of calculations a second. And the article asked, 'When all you're really looking at is the results from various moves in the future, how can a human mind deal with a computer that's thinking at speeds that are so unbelievable?' [...]

Well, it turns out a mind like ... that of a Fischer or a Spassky essentially was eliminating about 99.99% of the possibilities without even thinking about 'em. So it wasn't that they could outthink the computer in terms of speed, but they had this ability [...] where essentially they just got right down to the few possibilities out of these zillions of possibilities that really had any chance of success."
At some point in the near future, when our technology improves to "our MacBook is our evil overlord" status, I think we're going to realize something. All this while that we've been building tools to make our lives more convenient, what has happened is that the tools have grown in strength, not us.

Without the tools, we revert back to ordinary. The tools are crutches rather than augmenters.

I love this passage from The Education of a Coach, a book about Brian Belichik, coach of the Patriots. This man watched gametape religiously, sometimes breaking his VCR because he'd rewind it and forward it over and over again to watch small, seemingly insignificant parts of a game.

He's a master of football and, in a split-second, can often make decisions that others (including machines) would flounder to even imagine. This ability arose from all those hours growing up spent watching the tape and studying film. 

Recently, Belichick was asked to discuss the differences between the NFL today and the NFL back in the day. In a nutshell, he boiled it down to this: back in the day, everything was done manually, whereas now technology has automated things to such a point that you can go in and find the exact game situations you’re looking for (down and distance, field position, players on the field, players not on the field, etc).

The downside?
“The downside of that is when you do it yourself, you really know what it is and you remember it. When you just see a bunch of crap on the page then you kind of skim through it and you get what you want to get out of it, but it’s not like detailing it [and] writing it out yourself."
Computing and technology should be widening our idea of what we ourselves are capable of. If a computer can do it, then maybe we should try it and do it better. Technology should be forever challenging us to up our game. Instead, I think we've used it as an excuse to become lazy and complacent in our own development.