Watson, A.I. and the Future

I am LOVING Watson.  Finally my super-nerdy obsession interest in Science Fiction is hitting the mainstream.  The PBS news report below gives a comprehensive, yet concise, explanation of Watson, the IBM SuperComputer that is kicking human ass at Jeopardy!, so I will save my words for opinion and posturing.

As an avid fan of Science Fiction, perhaps I should be more frightened than most about this advance in artificial intelligence, but I am actually really excited.  I’ve devoured books on the subject, hoping that in my lifetime I’d see self-driving cars and androids who think they’re human.  After all, the question of “What is Human?” is one of my favourite dilemmas explored in classic and modern science fiction.  What defines humanity?  If you look, act, and think like a human, are you?  How do you know if you are a human or a machine, anyway?  Memories of a childhood?  What about implanted memories a la “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep”/”Blade Runner”?  If something as micro as the media can be used to control the population, who’s to think that this control doesn’t exist on a super-awesome-macro level?  Is The Matrix that hard to believe?  So many questions.

I don’t actually believe I will live to see a world with technology as advanced as in my favourite books and movies, but any time Sci Fi bleeds into reality, I am pumped!

The answer is 42.


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