There is so much hype about computers (usually with robots) taking over the world. How about, “Please Robot Overlords, Don’t fire us!”. A bit tongue-in-cheek, but the implication is clear. These pesky computers are very dangerous. True or not true ( a better bet) it’s still good to know something about how they work. There’s a post on this site (Johnny can read but he can’t write!) where I point out that kids are great users of computers — especially to play games and text. BUT they have no clue as to what’s really going on.
Pretty important. If you think that there are a lot of computers invading your life, just you wait. We’re in the “Model-T’ stage now. Lots to come.
Kind of amazing. You and I can maybe do one calculation in a few seconds. A computer can do several million per second. So, in “computer time (where one calculation takes one second), our human time would be several million seconds which is (BTW, about 31 million seconds in a year) a few months. Driving a Formula 1 car to the grocery at full speed? Not even close. We can’t really intuit how fast a computer calculates or how big a difference there is between human-time and computer time. That’s why there are some tens of thousands of so-called languages around to help us communicate. Not easy! Hows it works? So-so. Kind of hard to learn to use, but it’s all we have.
Back, not so many years, inventors focused on making specialized machines to do things for us (e.g., washing machines, auto engines, etc). But each machine was different because the solutions required physical “hardware”. Now the same computer can do different things with different programs — so-called “software”. Easier in some ways. Harder in others.
But getting that software to control and deal with other hardware (e.g., robots) is especially difficult. The computer software has no intrinsic ability to “think” or have judgment. Anything along those lines has to be “programmed”. But that is really hard to do (despite the impression left by the Watson commercials). Any good results have been rare. Human-machine interaction is hard. Humans can “think” and come with a lot of judgment when things go wrong. Computer-machine interactions: Who has the smarts? Neither. Problmsome, for sure. Solvable in limited situations. Take over the world? Over/under, 50 months. I’ll take the over — and give odds!
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