EmPulse for Week of June 21, 2010
A.I.— “Artificial Intelligence.” Def.- “the intelligence of machines and the branch of computer science that aims to create it.” [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AI] AI, coined by computer-cognition scientist John McCarthy in 1956, is “the science and engineering of making intelligent machines.” [see John McCarthy, WHAT IS ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE? ©1993, Nikos-Drakos, Computer Based Learning Unit, University of Leeds].
It is obvious to all that we are truly dependent upon intelligent machines in our everyday lives. Machines that respond to us and then take action accordingly. The Terminator (1984, 1991, 2003, 2009, ?) kicked off the popularity of the idea in the early ‘80s. Coupled with films like A.I. (2001), and I-Robot (2004), we are prodded to ponder just how far AI development might take us (not to mention “Data” on the unending reruns of the TV/Film franchise, Startrek: the next generation). It gives pause to wonder about the expendability of we homo sapiens?
The gadgets of today do not compare with the science fiction presented in the movies and TV series above. Ours are mere toys by comparison. Yet I find myself more dependent upon them every day. Some examples— I no longer “dial” a phone number; I simply say “Call John.” I pay bills electronically, online, not with a written check. My mobile smartphone holds my calendar, contact lists, personal reminders & notes, and a calculator. Did I mention it also connects to the Internet, allowing me access to 4 email accounts, text messaging, and browsing over the WorldWideWeb!?! Not to mention it serves as a clock, stopwatch, Internet-radio (I love Pandora), camera, Media Player (movies & itunes), & note recorder. Really…, take my wallet…, not my Blackberry! Oh, I forgot…, I don’t carry a wallet anymore.
The contributions that these gadgets have made to our society are wonderful, to be sure. But instead of freeing us to think about more important things they have rather lulled us into complacency. We tend to not-think at all, especially about the weightier issues of life. Though we may perfect incredible artificial intelligence we may find some of our own diminished.
Question— What do you think about? No, really; what thoughts engage the greater parts of your energies? Allow me to suggest some things worth thinking about— Understanding WHO you are as a person. Learning comfortable congeniality in relationships. Being graciously honest. The value of establishing a richer relationship with God. The art of genuine, implemented forgiveness. Keeping commitments. Living by an oath to truth, or to another. How to put in an honest day’s work that honors your employer. Being honorable in all you do. Sacrificing…, not to feel good about it but because it is right.
Warning— DO NOT allow your intelligence to languish; you may just find something else doing your thinking for you.
Have a nice week.