Saturday, October 31, 2009

Creeped Out

Halloween is here and the dead are everywhere. OK, so I'll admit I occasionally get a good scare from my dead brothers and sisters, every now and then they sneak up on me. But mostly the dead don't spook me.

You want to know what scares me, what makes the hair on my neck stand up straight, what gives me the chills and the icky kind of goosebumps? A.I. Yes. Artificial intelligence. A.I. seriously creeps me out.

When I think of all those brilliant computer geeks at M.I.T. and many other places, working diligently and creatively to make smart machines, it really gives me the willies! Haven't they seen ANY of the movies about ALL the things that can go wrong once you bestow intelligence? Whoa. What the hell are they thinking?

Today, fittingly for Halloween, I'm reading about these intelligent robots who are meant to act as therapists for people recovering from strokes, or kids with autism, but, oh dear Maja Matarić, please honey, take a break and watch The Matrix. I beg of you, do it! Or Terminator or Terminator II. C'mon, please! Before it's too late!!

It's Halloween and I'm spooked, just as I should be. Oh yeah!!


Sandra Leigh said...

Thanks for the reminder, Reya. I must grab a sprig of rosemary from my friend Jane's garden and a head of garlic from the supermarket, to grace my front door tonight.

As for AI, remember that computers are only as intelligent as their programmers - oh, wait.

ellen abbott said...

You know what I don't like about the 'smart' machines? Like the robot therapists, it's the talking toys. Hey who needs to talk to your kids, play with them, read to them, interact with them...let the toys do it. It's scary, thinking of a whole generation of kids whose parents never interact with them.

Nancy said...

Haven't these people seen "2001 - A Space Odyssey"? Hal was the epitome of scary.

Anonymous said...

My way of keeping calm about this is to consider the lovely nested way the world is developing. If the old myths are to be believed, first there were The Gods, few in number, mighty in power, volatile in emotion, given to strange mad creating.

Then they (or some of them) created Humans ... who could talk, think after a fashion, invent, and proliferate. Within the limits of obsolescence and the law of physics, they had free will.

Which has, so far, caused no end of travail and difficulty, for humans and The Gods alike.

Now, what are those foolish Humans doing? They are inventing machine that can 'think' (sort of), proliferate, and make decisions.

As the wheel turns, it goes around. What goes around, comes around.

(Tag, GODS, you're IT.)

Tom said...

machines can be a bit creepy--i think it's the monotones they emote.

Here's an unoriginal thought; perhaps AI is the next logical step in human evolution. Reading Asimov shows a bit more rosey (or realistic) view of robots...of course i guess we'll always have to worry about the one with a loose screw!

Joanne said...

I agree with Ellen, and do see parents tuning out their children, in public, all the time. Walking in the grocery store, post office, wherever, with their cell phones pressed tight to their ear, it's as though they aren't even aware of their kids. It's kind of sad, watching the children like that.

Linda Sue said...

One of the saddest films I ever saw was A.I.- breaks my heart every time - why am I so intrigued? Steppford Wives is the ultimate in creepy- I am still intrigued...soulessness is SO creepy.

Shaista said...

Reya, your blog is as always, such a fascinating journey - I loved learning about the herbs you will be anointing your home with.
You mentioned spirits and hungry ghosts in your past posts - the first time I ever heard this term hungry ghosts, was when Thich Nhat Hanh spoke about them in Vietnamese culture...
I don't have a special day to honour my ancestors, but I speak to them one way or another most days... it is freeing to know how long life is, and that others can carry on the torch of living even when we have moved on to other realms. After all, life is knackering sometimes :)

lakeviewer said...

AI scares you? What about those pilots who play away and forget to fly? Now, those are scary!

Merle Sneed said...

What a wonderful image. Relax, the dead hardly ever harm anyone.

Elizabeth said...

How did I miss your lovely post from yesterday?
So thoughtful and lovely.
Anyway, I bust my camera and had to get a new one etc etc.
Yes AI is very likely to go wrong and wrong plenty.
I have got to make my little altar now.
Wanted to post about my mother
but she took a lousy photo
she was warm and lovely though
the mother in the Jane books.
Love you.
Happy Halloween!

Washington Cube said...

My dead are definitely about...and then some. The whole week has been....difficult. I took you seriously about the garlic and rosemary.

janis said...

Me too! In fact the IT guys at my office scare me too!
HAppy Halloween!

Barry said...

AI worries me too, but perhaps doesn't scare me as much as it should.

Just because we can do something really isn't the best argument for going ahead and doing it.

Both scientists and technicians appear to have difficulty looking at the bigger picture and envisioning the consequences of their actions.

Reya Mellicker said...

Barry I think they are all so extremely optimistic, they imagine these discoveries can bring only good things. Crazy!!

Ronda Laveen said...

A.I. is really kinda creepy. And,no,I'm sure they haven't worked out all the angles or problems.

Raising Raynor, FidosForFreedom's Puppy-ADIT said...

Reya, hello, I love your blog, read it regularly .... love the Gold Puppy Jake, and sorry he died ... but he's still with you in your life. the thoughts in my head about all this, is ... the world will be what we imagine it to be, and we must all dream with love, respect, and a deep regard and sense of responsibility. Enough of us dreaming well, can heal the world, in Animal Time, and I believe, in AI time as well. Wishing you much peace and wellness and good dreams this evening.
-Kim & Ray

Mrsupole said...

Nice to see that I am not the only one who sees what is going on with all these little robots that are now being made.

As to the people who do not believe that Artificle Intelligence is possible, then I say go back in history and think about what we consider normal today was not even possible 100 years ago.

I remember when we used to watch the old science fiction movies and I think the one that comes to mind is the old Flash Gordon series. I think the people who were alive when that show was made had thought there was no way any of the things on that program would ever happen. They just thought it was a figment of someone's imagination. I cannot remember exactly how many things on the show that has long sense been invented, and even surpassed beyond their wildest imaginations.

And yes, I too fear that someday a crazy genius will control some AI and then the AI will be just as crazy as that person. It is not the AI that I fear, it is the crazy genius. I mean the human brain is the best computer ever made.

Do you possibly think that maybe we are the AI's?

God bless.

PS...did you see the cute little robot that can run and jump?

Reya Mellicker said...

The robots I was reading about can gauge by analyzing facial expressions and tone of voice whether the patient is intro or extroverted and then behave appropriately - with extroverts they speak more loudly and are more direct in their guidance. With introverts they speak more softly, and are more supportive and soothing. They can even change their own robotic personalities as a patient begins to get well.


Dick Tracy used to communicate with his wrist/radio with the little TV screen, remember? Today we call these devices cell phones.

Mrsupole said...

That is truly spooky!!!

I wonder how many things we could list that were in old Sci-Fi movies or TV series, that have come true today.


Microwaves, lasers, nuclear or atom bombs, WI FI, computers. Remember when we had to use film to take pictures?

I remember when we first got cable TV and we only had one cable channel. We were so amazed at the time.

And still Terminator scares me as much as Jaws!! I mean truly scares me. Thanks for making me feel that I am not alone in feeling this way.

God bless.