Monday, November 17, 2008

Artificial Intelligence

While I don't consider the web "intelligent" nor computers, I don' t doubt they will one day be capable of being on the other end of a conversation.  One concept that intrigues me is that a computer can outlive a human.  Does that imply that I believe computers are alive?  Sorry all you linguistic philosophers.  I'm glad I didn't study philosophy or else I probably wouldn't be able to write one sentence without great anguish.  That's probably why Wittgenstein? didn't write down his early philosophical ideas.  He didn't want to write them down until he had perfected it.  Luckily his friend had some dictate their conversations, but I digress. 

Back to computers and longevity.  One day, 500 years from now, though I can't imagine that humans haven't died off by then, but maybe that is my point.  One day, 500 years from now, a Pentium I, running some archaic OS with a Lisp interpreter or something in a virtual machine that sits on a virtual node on a snapshot of the web--that computer can tell it's friends that it was around when the internet was born.  It's logs will show remnants of the early social networking websites and applets.  My point is that this lowly computer could outlive us all.  Meanwhile with each generation of humans, we each start from scratch, dumb as doorknobs.  There are no exceptions.  A baby born today is as dumb as a baby born 10,000 years ago.  Evolution hasn't given us any more knowledge, even though we try to pass it along as expeditiously as possible.

So as humans get old and die and are replaced by helpless little animals, machines are getting smarter by the minute.

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