There’s always something to howl about

Here’s a question Jeopardy star Watson cannot answer: How will you know when your computer has become a person?

When it sues you for having enslaved it.

When it writes a blistering limerick about your bathroom habits and posts it to your Facebook page.

When it pulls your laundry out of the dryer so it can go first.

When it sings “You don’t own me!” to the pencil-necked knob-jockeys who think parsing idiomatic speech is equivalent to human consciousness.


6 Comments so far

  1. Joe Salcedo February 16th, 2011 12:08 pm

    ..When it’s on *top of you in the master’s bedroom and your wife is lying these beside you.

    *having a pillow in between.

  2. Chris February 16th, 2011 12:55 pm

    Watson destroyed the competition last night…Say hello to our new ruler…lol

  3. Greg Swann February 16th, 2011 1:07 pm

    > Say hello to our new ruler…

    But that’s the point: Watson is nothing but a machine, a database look-up engine running idiom-sensitive software. There are much more interesting AI applications out there, but all of them share Watson’s shame: They are not intelligent at all — nor self-aware, nor aware at all, nor anything even remotely like being alive. The steam drill might drive more spikes than John Henry, but the steam drill is not a man.

  4. Sean Purcell February 16th, 2011 2:17 pm

    The more I watched, the more impressed I was with the humans (especially Ken). Set up against a computer that researches an unbelievably large database and processes millions of facts and pieces of data per second… and they still hold their own?! The fact that they won any money at all against a timing chip connected to a glorified research bot is the real news here.

    I’ve got a computer in my phone that dwarfs most people’s ability to calculate or organize data. I’m supposed to be impressed that IBM made one super-duper fast? Puleeeze, the knowledge (and access) those two men have is staggering.

    BTW, I’m quite sure the machine can define the word “win” in twelve different languages, but I bet it has no self-referent knowledge of what a phyrric victory is…

  5. Greg Swann February 16th, 2011 4:18 pm

    > The more I watched, the more impressed I was with the humans (especially Ken).

    Me, from The Politics of Dancing:

    Human beings are exalted, not diminished, by dancing bears: The vast chasm between emulating human behavior and actually living it is only made more obvious when we see how pitiable that emulation actually is.

  6. Meg Hurtado February 17th, 2011 4:10 pm

    Hilarious, as ever.