Tuesday, April 17, 2012
The future is here only it's going to get weirder
Fact may be getting stranger than fiction. Was watching House last night one of my few favorite shows left in the vast wasteland of TV. On this episode the patient, who's diagnosis is all but impossible to figure but for the best of the best of diagnosticians, has an odd relationship with a life size doll and not of the blow up variety. That in itself would be odd enough but as we proceed to blur the lines between virtuality and reality it got me to thinking. During a commercial break on comes an ad for the new Iphone 4s with voice recognition. Oh I think you can see where this is all going. Life sized automatons that interact can not be far down the road. Exactly what they'll be able to do makes one wonder. I remember the very first voice recognition computer used by the phone company and got a quick demonstration when an operator accidentally let me overhear her talking to Chatty Kathy, Bell telephones' latest marvel. What a long way we've come since the mid 1960s. But it makes one wonder if we'll have the technology like robots of Westworld or Kryten of Red Dwarf. I can only imagine what a virus would do to those circuits or worse should such a machine develop psychosis. Will we be talking and arguing with our appliances? As we've seen with the Air Canada incident some machines are smarter than us. They don't need to rely on foggy half asleep memory banks.
Then there is the issue of predictability. Like a marriage that's gone on for a long time computers can predict with some degree of certainty what will be spoken next. Exactly how the wizards of computer science managed this feat is amazing. With the complexity of linguistics and the nuances of language not to mention accents and speech impediments this truly is a miracle. Should it get to the point where the computer answers a question before it's asked I'm sure programmers will step in to put some randomizers in the mix or the whole thing will become quite boring. Yet it might make a for a momentary interesting sitcom. Reality shows are getting stale. They did try this technology with talking cars some years back but most drivers found it irritating.
Just where will we be some 50 years from now as we become more isolated in this virtual world? We've slowly shielded ourselves from human interacting with cars and phones and now the internet. Now there's talk of incorporating our 'selves' into virtual avatars. Have we become so lazy that we need to text from the kitchen to the garage? Maybe I'm glad there's such a thing as mortality and I'll be taking my personality with me thank you very much. What's next text messages from the grave? Now there's a morbid thought.