Ay-Yi-Yi, Robot.

Eirik Newth – from Commons.Wikimedia.com

Do you remember "I, Robot"–the movie in which Will Smith thwarts/mediates a futuristic robot take-over of the planet? (I've only seen the movie. I'm still waiting for the book to come out.) It was pretty creepy, wasn't it? Artificial intelligence learning and gaining more intelligence and making decisions, and all of mankind just sort of rolling with it and letting it take over?

Man. I hope that's not in our future. Partly because, like I said, it's creepy. Artificial Intelligence might produce sentience, but it could never produce actual sympathy or empathy or even feelings, right? And who wants to set brilliant, endlessly learning yet non-empathetic beings loose on all of us humans? James Bond movies are populated with villains just like that, and you KNOW what happens in THOSE movies. I mean besides 007 getting the hot babes and the bad guys being weirdly cool and having, like, golden hands and diamonds embedded in their faces. Yeah. The non-empathetic geniuses kill people and try to take over the planet. And even when Daniel Craig and Sean Connery stop them, more rise up, because THAT'S WHAT FREAKISHLY INTELLIGENT NON-EMPATHETIC BEINGS DO!

Why would we want this? I mean, our current technology is what any future artificial intelligence we invent would be based on, and it's just too dorky for me to handle it being the grandparent of some Robo-Butler for my kids.

For example,  my computer? Freakishly slow. No matter what. We just rebuilt it, and I can still start a page-load and then go get lunch, hit up Costco for milk and those little brownie bites, pick up shin-guards, violin music, and Haagen Dasz 5 ice cream, plus have my eyebrows waxed, before it finishes.

This technological Grand-Poobah-ness extends to my iPhone too, which regularly decides when I've talked long enough, and hangs me up–but not before my face has programmed a new phone message and made out my laundry-list because the stupid key-pad won't lock like it's supposed to when I'm on a call.

There's also my car, whose computer chip blitzed-out last year and took over the electrical system, making locks randomly stop working, fuel injectors run wild, several engine systems intermittently overload, and melting all the wires in the harness together so they looked Satan's claw. Seriously. I should post a picture.

This is the technology upon which our futures could be based? THIS?

You know, I could almost blow it all off. We live in an imperfect world, and these things are ultimately harmless. Except for one thing. My computer-based phone system takes voicemail messages and transcribes them into emails for me–presumeably to make my life easier. Just like a little robo-assistant. I recently received a phone call from my sister telling me that her daughter needed to arrive at my mother-in-law's one day earlier than planned on her way to college, and this is what my computerized, artificial intelligence-laden phone system sent to me:

"Hey Millers, this is Crs, how are you. We just sent Tan off. Can you believe we are down in the beginning of summer of six kids at home to three. It's a little eerie strange but Tany left this morning and I know she's in touch with you to Neil about needing to see if you could pick her up tonight. I found out from my friend you, this. I really need a way to Germany with his little book report, it's Betsy. Linda is out of sister sister sister I got one extra bed so I will be on the floor and it would be easier for the if, I mean for Ina because she has to do a lot with her son is just a lot of teaching to set them up for BY you be easier. Yeah if it's okay with your mothern law that she just stay there. It'll be later tonight. They didn't get away till about eight this morning if you could stay at Carol's and I" … more. Please listen to your voicemail for the remainder of this message. 

ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME? I DON'T WANT TO LISTEN TO THE REST OF THAT! IT'S OBVIOUSLY POSSESSED AND TRYING TO EXERCISE SOME SORT OF MIND CONTROL OVER ME TO DRIVE ME INSANE! I CAN'T FIGHT THIS! I DON'T HAVE THE SKILLS! PLUS, I CAN'T SAY "OH, H** NO!" THE WAY WILL SMITH CAN!

Yeah. I'm totally not interested in Robo-butlers or voice recognition systems, or anything that thinks it can make up my mind for me. Give me a good old fashioned tape recorder that won't work unless I put the batteries in it, and an Atari 2000 computer with an analog hard drive, and I'm there, baby. Will Smith can go slap the A.I. inventors upside the head with a tuna can before they even think about reproducing Isaac Asimov's brain-child. There's better stuff to invent. 

Like Mrs. Field's Cookie replicators.



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About Janiel 432 Articles
I have managed to keep the same husband for nearly three decades, and the same four children for almost that long - although one or two of them say it has been much longer. I have been writing since I learned to hold a pencil, and trying to make people laugh even longer. I hope to do some good in the world before I go the way of it. And if not, I'd better at least get to visit Ireland.

2 Comments

  1. Hmmm. Never thought of myself as a Luddite. But the older I get, the more Ludd-ish I become. Sometimes technology is a ginormous pain in the toukus.

    Thanks, dude!

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