Friday, August 13, 2010

We Are About to Embark Into a Brave New World, Where Computers are Still Computers and People are... Well, People... Who Use Computers.

As many of you might know, I have embarked on the path of a graduate student and oh what a delightful path it is... With learning, lollipops and rainbows... A lot of rainbows. Needless to say, most of my effort was spent not morphing into the atypical "graduate student..." Let's face it, some of them can be the worst.

I also learned a few concepts and terms... All in all, a good time was had by all. Yet, on the final day of a seven day intensive course, we watched a short film detailing the relationship between man and machine. (This was actually my second time watching it)

The first time, I thought it was pretty good, not merely from a technical (the editing and presentation) perspective. However, after seeing it a second time I found it to be a wee bit pretentious.

For your consumption, The Machine is Us...



Like I said, from an aesthetic point of view, it is pretty sweet and has a kicking beat to accompany it. However, something continues to bother me about it. The fact remains that the point behind is built on shaky foundation. To say that every time we click a link, create a blog or post a video, we are teaching the machine to think... Is well, ridiculous.

This is coming from the guy who likes many of the ideas behind Transhumanism... Who wouldn't want their brain placed in a robot that can dance the robot? However, human interaction or contribution to the internet is not going to affect or enlighten a server housing digital information. Especially, since a computer does not possess the processing speeds to match the capabilities of the human mind. Nor will it be able to achieve this any time soon.

What is the effect of man on the "machine?" In a word... Nothing. One would argue that the internet or Web 2.0 applications impact human behavior... However, this would presume that a man-made concept could alter a thought process. Surprise, surprise... This applications are made with a specific audience in mind, it is not aiding in the achievement of computer sentience.

So, if you were watching that video and had visions of a nuclear holocaust... Have no fear, clicking a link merely fulfills a process dictated by its code, which was constructed by a human programmer not a computer. Take that Skynet! Humans 1, Sentient Robots 0!

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