Friday, January 28, 2011
Listening to Computers...
One of the first space shows from my childhood was "Lost in Space" which was full of interesting "American style" characters stranded on another planet and learning to get along and survive together. My favorite character was "Mr Robot" who went everywhere with the "kids" and was there to try and protect or prevent them from getting into trouble. He was always the first one to spot or sense problems...and one of his most frequently used lines in the series was "danger danger Will Robinson" when the robot would warn his boy companion of some imminent danger. Mr Robot's next most famous line in the show was whenever "Dr. Smith" or someone else came up with a harebrained plan that was dangerous or irrational, Mr Robot would always say "that does not compute". I think today's leaders should all have such a robot next to them at all times listening to what they say or think.
I have come to the point where I think computers hold most of the answers...and tools...we humans need for survival. Computers tied to the internet (which is just a huge chain of computers after all) can
bring all the information we need to make cognitive decisions in this life. They even include calculators so we can check the math of our financial decisions or check the math of others.
Another beautiful thing about computers is they simply reflect what we program them to do or say. They are the ultimate tool of "cause and effect". Garbage in, garbage out. That goes for programming languages...and input data. Isn't that really the way the "ultimate computer" works...the human brain?
The advantage of computers is they can "think" without the conflicts or interference of "emotions". That is something next to impossible for we humans. We are guided more by emotion than reason and intellect. Our desires get in the way of our "reality vision". We WANT to think everything is all right in "our world"...so we ignore the data or experiences that could contradict our preconceptions.
I also think computers can "act" in very human ways. If you try to rush them while they are "processing" data...they can get confused and even break down or turn off unexpectedly. If you beat on them out of anger or frustration, they may actually totally breakdown and be useless to you. And every once in a while, especially the older ones, if you overwork them or leave them on too long...they overheat and shut down.
While new computers tend to be fast and sleek...they still aren't worth much until you load them with programs and information. Its always hard for me to switch from my old computer to a new one because it takes me so long to program the new one to do what the old one does. With the old one, I know all the shortcuts and where the hidden files are. On a new computer there tends to be a significant learning curve before it is my "true companion".
So as you can see...humans and computers have a lot in common...and a lot of "co dependency". Its all in how we use them that will make us more effective...and objective...human beings.