I Live in the Future and Here's How it Works, by Nick Bilton: an exclusive Boing Boing excerpt


20 Responses to “I Live in the Future and Here's How it Works, by Nick Bilton: an exclusive Boing Boing excerpt”

  1. MeOnBoingBoing says:

    Everyone, say it with me together now: Correlation does not imply causation, Correlation does not imply causation, Correlation does not imply causation, Correlation does not imply causation…..

    It’s perfectly plausible, in fact very likely that the sort of surgeons attracted to playing video games in the first place *because* they had better hand eye coordination. Lot’s of future surgeons tried playing video games once, the ones with the best hand eye coordination got the positive feedback to encourage them to continue playing.

    • tylerkaraszewski says:

      Did you read the whole thing?

      A couple of years ago, a researcher at Arizona State University tried this out on surgeons at Banner Good Samaritan Medical Center, using a Wii golf club that was reshaped into a laparoscopic probe. One group of residents played a suite of games called Wii Play and a game that involves subtle hand movements, Marble Mania, using the probe, while another group didn’t. The game players showed 48 percent more improvement in performing a simulated laparoscopic procedure compared with those who didn’t play.

      Even still, “playing video games makes you better at things that are substantially similar to video games” is hardly a surprising conclusion. It probably turns out people who can drive cars are better at driving trucks than people who can’t drive either.

    • Ryan_T_H says:

      Correlation does not imply causation… but it does point its finger and waggle its eyebrows suggestively.

      The whole correlation does not mean causation thing gets trotted out way too frequently. And often get present in such a way as to imply that correlation somehow makes causation less likely.

  2. Mari Lwyd says:

    I quietly anticipate the arrival of robot surgeons to remove this atrocious variance of results.

  3. Robert Goodman says:

    I, for one, welcome our surgeon overlords.

  4. sam1148 says:

    “You are in a maze of twisty little passages, all alike. It’s pitch black…” 

    • WoodGas1 says:

      Whoa, that jangled a neuron or two, is that from a text game named “pyramid” that came out for the TRS 80 in the mid cretaceous? Up-right-right-up wasn’t it?

  5. bruckelsprout says:

     Damn the irony!  I’ve always been a natural when it comes to video games, but the sight of a surgical operation makes me cringe and the blood seems to drain from my hands as I lose all dexterity in my fingers.  Life’s cruel jokes…

    • ocker3 says:

      Watch a show like Nip/Tuck, where they play classical music during the surgery scenes, helping to change the emotional response to surgery and blood.

  6. Nuno Maia says:

    Why do i get the feeling one random line from Alan Watts is more worth it than a whole book by Nick Bilton.

  7. noah django says:

    implying video games are the ultimate test of hand-eye coordination.

    I’d prefer a surgeon that can draw as well or better than I.  better yet a sculptor, or plays a musical instrument.  anyone can rot their minds compulsively playing vidya.  that doesn’t mean I want him poking into me, though I’ll concede it’s better practice than nothing.

    the sad part is the research pool of surgeons that do anything with their hands OTHER than play videogames is probably nil comparatively.  there was a time when surgical techniques were akin to butchery while those considered best-educated had a solid art background.

    yeah, sour grapes.  i know i’m the minority in our time, on the internet, and on BB; but I think vidya–while it has a legitimate amount of importance from a tech standpoint–is hugely overrated, and this research just legitimizes separating oneself from the reality that is really important for a surgeon to be adept at working in.

    • bruckelsprout says:

       While I agree that it might be silly to compare surgery and video games (and for me this type of info falls under more of the novelty/entertainment category), I resent the idea that my mind has “rotted” simply because I played “vidya.”

  8. Aknaton says:

    One aspect of the “it may well be a natural part of human behavior to seek out and develop unnatural new experiences” includes little children’s desire to be picked up and spun around, the better to learn to stand and walk:


  9. journey46 says:

    Years ago, a retired Air Force officer told me he volunteered to take his son’s Cub Scout pack to visit an Air Base and to try the F-15 simulator. He required every father attend though.
    Almost every Cub Scout was able to take off, shoot down at least one “bogey” and land the “jet”.
    Few of the fathers could get the “jet” off the ground and those that did were shot down.
    He attributed it to growing up with video games and controllers compared to growing up with traditional eye hand coordinating activities like baseball.

  10. taintofevil says:

    My local library has a copy of this book, copyright 2010.  Do you get a new copyright when you excerpt?  Was there minor editing?  I’m genuinely curious.

  11. jeligula says:

    Eventually they will come up with a nanoscopic Pac-Man to clean out our pipes.  When that happens, it might be wiser to have a video game champ control that Pac-Man than it would an over-educated person who is only guessing and applying theory and can’t wash a wine glass without breaking it.  But I believe that someone who knows the underlying structure by heart would be preferable to someone with video game-enhanced reaction times.  They just as well could have told us that 100% of jet fighter pilot/brain surgeons are better at brain surgery than 100% of fighter pilots who are not brain surgeons.  Or brain surgeons who are not fighter pilots.  When my speed increases with the guitar, it happens on the computer keyboard as well.  And vice versa.  Secondary and tertiary hobbies usually do increase the level of competency in one’s primary function.  We did not need yet another study to tell us this.

  12. viceroy says:

    I refuse to have a colonoscopy performed by a physician that is not in Prestige Mode Level in Call of Duty Modern Warfare.

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