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Computers Rob Our Children of Experience

August 12, 1990

In his July 26 article "Be Thankful Pythagoras Didn't Have a PC," Michael Schrage illustrated his point by relating the story of 18th-Century German mathematician Karl Gauss. As a young child in school, Gauss' teacher presented the students with a problem: Add up all the numbers from 1 to 100. It seems that the child's great mind immediately saw a pattern to solving the problem: 1 plus 100 totals 101, 2 plus 99 totals 101, etc. Since there are 50 pairs, the answer is 50 x 101 = 5,050.

We are raising a generation of computer technology geniuses. The least knowledgeable youngster today can run circles around my generation in computer know-how. But how fast can they think on their feet, reason, question and analyze a situation. I believe that computers have robbed children of the essence of childhood, where they develop social skills via interaction with human beings. It is our responsibility to humanize the world of advancing technology.

RONI COHN

West Los Angeles

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