Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Machine Over Man?

                 There has been, rightfully, a lot of talk recently about artificial intelligence. It appears to be just a matter of time until we reach the “Singularity,” that moment when machines surpass humans in their ability to process information in terms of speed and quantity. Many experts believe that, soon thereafter, it will prove impossible for humans to control or in any way shape what the rapidly increasing artificial intelligence does with its waxing brilliance.
                A brave new world indeed.
                It has recently occurred to me that men and machine are actually going in opposite directions in terms of their intelligence. Who hasn’t purchased something at a retail store and seen the look on a young cashier’s face when he/she tried to figure out how much change to give  back? If it wasn’t always obviously shown on their terminal, most couldn’t do it quickly and with confidence- if at all. Give them extra change so you can get back all bills, no pennies, or whatnot… and watch them nearly have a panic attack.
                Cursive writing is a nearly extinct skill. Even finding a young person who can print legibly and without excessive spelling errors is rare. Keyboards, you know. And, of course, calculators do our math for us.
                Logic? Rhetoric? Public speaking? Debate? Get real. Those are, like, so totally not cool! Unless there’s an app for them! We have spell-check, though, so we don’t have to know how to spell.
                The vast majority of us- the 99%- have ceded our intelligence to machines.  Which means we have ceded our independence to others. Either the most brilliant few humans can figure everything out before it’s too late, or it’s machine over man.

                And who wants a permanent, “artificial” master?  


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