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Saturday, May 23, 2015

Don't worry, the machines won't take over, there isn't time.

Today we are going to discuss artificial intelligence. It is a term that carries a lot of freight. Fiction is rife with examples of AI going sour.  HAL in 2001 A Space Odyssey not only decides to kill his human shipmates he also wipes up the chess board with one of them. Not cool Hal, not cool.

And who can forget Ash from Alien?  He tried to kill Sigourney Weaver, one of the toughest, most handsome, female space trucking conglomerate employees of all time. He probably would have succeeded too, had it not been for the timely intervention of Yaphet Kotto (who is, believe it or not, 75 years old this year (2015)). Thank you, Yaphet, you really saved the movie, there. Yes, we know Ash also tried to bring that awful alien thing back to Earth, but he was just doing his job, just following orders, nothing he could really do about that. It's a living and we all have to eat.  Besides, it turns out Predators had already stocked the Polar Ice Cap with hundreds of the damn things. Predators really are jerks, you know?

Skynet from terminator, another example of AI gone a little too far.  All those robots from I Robot, they got a little carried away, who knows what would have happened had it not been for Will Smith. This was after he helped save us from those creepy alien capitalists in Independence Day. That guy deserves some sort of award.

Has Artificial Intelligence received a lot of bad press, or are we all doomed to be strangled in our sleep by the the charger cables that give life to our phones, our preciousses?  We don't know.

We programmed a learning algorithm into our new computer, (a Microsoft Surface Pro 3, with attached keyboard) added the personality traits from one of the teachers at the local high school, and ran simulations using the latest issues of several magazines reporting on computers and electronics.  We focused mostly on "Nuts, and Volts" and "Maximum PC" because they had the coolest names.

After running multiple scenarios for several days, comparing the results, adjusting for every conceivable variable, and comparing the results using parameters weighted by probability it came to an answer.

It made us sit in the front row, and comb our hair, then said.  "Look around the world, it is a mess. You should be so lucky to have to worry about a machine revolution."

Then it made us spit out our gum, sit up straight, and stay after school and write "I will not destroy the planet" fifty times on the chalkboard.

Now that we have an answer we can all sleep a lot easier.  As soon as detention is over.