I love technology,,,,to a point. It has given us the ability to get a recipe, manage a home repair, find directions, simplify our banking, even get news bulletins up to the moment. But how much do we really need,,,,,before it adversely affects our lives? 

I’ve touched on this subject before but it still really peeves me. You’re in a wonderful conversation with friends, there’s banter and opinion back and forth. This could go on all evening making for some great conversation, great jibes. An issue is at hand and all are charged to enjoy a lively discussion….then someone pulls out a cell phone or an ipad and ‘googles’ the answer to your subject argument then proudly proclaims the answer….and the conversation is dead in the water. (Well wasn’t that fun)  You know, there are times when technology isn’t ,,,,fun. Sometimes it’s a conversation killer stopping a good debate in its’ tracks.

I was reading an article recently about artificial intelligence, a scary thing, but I couldn’t help but marvel (shudder, actually) at the advancements we’ve made. Man has the ability, or so it seems, to simulate the thinking patterns of the human brain. (are we so predictable?)  Moreover, the goal and current challenge of artificial intelligence technology is replicating the ability to reason and problem solve. Think about it, we already have self-driving cars, and it’s proclaimed that they will be better than the human driver. In fact, artificial intelligence boasts the capacity to understand or learn any intellectual task that a human can. So can it create a human replica, a robot?  And if so, am I the only one who doesn’t get this? Why would we want this? (what ever happened to ‘ignorance is bliss?”)

Technology is progressing at alarming rates, not always a good thing, but a proud testament to our ability, ok, I get that. We’re a smart species. There is some research available that supports our ability to create a race of ‘people’ that would by far surpass our own abilities. (Again, why would we want this?)  Is it a question of proving our intelligence?  (Ego?….wouldn’t be the first time man has been propelled by ego) Are we so driven to ‘redevelop’ our species that we are blind to the inevitable repercussions of it?

What happens when that self driving car malfunctions, blows a circuit, looses a gasket? Surely it’s only as reliable as the human who programmed it? What happens when/if that ‘robot’ we created suddenly decides to ‘think outside the box’, chooses a different outcome, and/or turns against its’ creators? In our quest to create the ultimate perfect being we may well nullify our own authority because eventually these ‘man-made’ creations will start to think on their own (so they say) and, dare I say it, take over?

Maybe it’s all hype. Maybe not. There’s a huge library of information available on ‘AI’ (artificial intelligence)volumes in fact,  that will impress,,,,, and shake you to the core, and it all shmecks of a sci-fi movie. At the end of the day it claims to be able to replicate the human race, in a perfected way. The downside is that it can also challenge the human race, because it is perfected. (weird)

Ok, so maybe we have the ability to create a ‘better-than-us’ race. What do we hope to achieve with this? Who’s going to be there to give us notoriety?  The thought that we could one day be ruled by a ‘man-made’ society is frightening, at least to me. Because robots are incapable of love, and kindness, and compassion, and emotion – they are only capable of what they are programmed for…..by a human, they cannot surely behave in rational human ways. Don’t we need that? These are traits that cannot be replicated. And if robots can in fact be trained to ‘think’ rationally, it follows then that they could also think irrationally, which leaves the option open for them to revolt, retaliate,,,,,,, dominate?

I’m no scientist, no genius, and after reading a few articles and one book on the subject (by no means an authority) I’m sufficiently frightened enough to wonder why, on earth we would ever want to create something that could eventually dominate us. (takes me back to the old ‘Frankenstein’ movies)

I get technology, to a point, because it is a challenge to test our ability, see how far we can get, and it brings endless convenience into our lives; the internet, self check-outs, cell phones (how did we survive all these centuries without them!) By contrast it also eliminates manual labour, leaving more and more unemployed. It adversely affects our socialization skills because we no longer talk face to face, it’s all text, cell, email. And while the internet brings a plethora of information instantly, it also provides an unregulated platform for pedophiles, pornography and scam artists, so technology it seems, is a double edged sword.

Maybe I’m just old fashioned. I like using a cashier to process my purchase, and I gladly answer my land line when someone calls, and while I have had numerous conversations on text or email, my first choice is live, face to face conversation. I enjoy the many benefits of technology, online banking, surfing for recipes or information, or shopping for that hard-to-find item. I get the convenience. I even get the need to ‘prove’ our intelligence. I just wonder if in our quest we aren’t going too far. Do we really need to recreate the human brain, the very one that could conceivably outwit us?

Someone, please, tell me, why would we want this?

One thought on “How much knowledge do we need?

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