Ideas

Can a calculator make you smarter? The QAMA calculator can. You use it just like a regular calculator, plugging in the numbers of the problem you want to solve — but QAMA won’t give you the answer until you provide an accurate estimate of what that answer will be. If your estimate is way off, you’ll have to go back to the problem and see where you went wrong. If your estimate is close, QAMA (developed by Ilan Samson, an “inventor-in-residence” at the University of California, San Diego) will serve up the precise solution, and you can compare it to your own guess. Either way, you’ll learn a lot more than if you simply copied the answer that a calculator spit out.

Ever since journalist Nicholas Carr posed a provocative question — “Is Google Making Us Stupid?” — in a widely-read 2008 Atlantic magazine article, we’ve been arguing…

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