Artificial Intelligence….

This morning Kathy and I were waiting patiently for our neighbor to take us to the airport for the start of our latest Magical Mystery Tour. I flipped on the TV and was bombarded by every pundit in the world who wanted to tell me what I saw during the Vice Presidential debate last night. I only watched the last five minutes and that was plenty. Another 90 minutes of mindless mud slinging. Been there. Done that.

Wanting one last look as to whether the financial world was coming to an end I deftly shifted to CNBC. It seems there is a cyber security conference going on in Cambridge and who better to describe the action than that mad bomber known as Jim Cramer. The conversation got away from a plebeian thing called security and got to the real meat of our netherworld….Artificial Intelligence. After watching Messrs. Kaine and Pence and Hilary and the Donald I would opt for any kind of intelligence.

For those hopelessly locked in the Dark Ages, Artificial Intelligence(AI) is swiftly giving computers the ability to think like humans. As a matter of fact the consensus is that they will be able to think better than mere mortals within a few years. At first this is rather unsettling. But upon further examination, there might be something to this. Think of all our failings and foibles being corrected by son of IMac.

It appears this thing called emotion gets in the way of rational thinking. You should be able to load x number of factors into the computer, add an algorithm here and there and Voila you have the best possible solution to everything from your investments, dietary needs, athletic performance and relationships.The possibilities are endless. Everything is reduced to percentages of success and optimization of effort. There is no question as to how you should operate.

To find a need for this kind of expertise I have to go to the most irrational of institutions on earth, our government. As a matter of fact if we figure this out we could probably apply it to just about any ruling scheme in our universe. We all know that our current system makes no sense even if the Founding Fathers thought they were brilliant. Basically you put power in the hands of the few that are supposed to represent all of us but we know it is all about them. Whether it is the legislative or executive branch you can pretty much put money on the guy or gal who garners the most monetary gain. Of course they will tell you it has no effect on their decision making but have already concluded that we are not dealing with straight shooters.

For instance a computer will tell you we run a big deficit. When outlays surpass intake the bus is heading for a large cliff. Right there in black and white. The digital solution is to curtail spending or up the ante. What is so hard about that? When deciding where to cut we should consider where we do the least damage and obtain the highest return. Unfortunately our pols don’t get this higher math and that equates with grid lock.

Infrastructure also comes to mind. When you own a house and you have something broken, you fix it. If your car breaks down constantly you repair or replace it otherwise your butt is staying in place for the foreseeable future. I don’t even need my IPad for that. Yet today our highways, electric grid, and airports as well as water and sewer are well beyond Band Aids and Neosporin. We don’t raise the gasoline tax for 35 years. We turn down tolls as being unfair. We wait until disaster strikes even though there are dozens of Flints on the horizon. Analyze that.

Now this is all depressing and I want to think about possibilities and not maladies. I want to play golf where I am told what club to hit taking in all factors, atmospheric and psychologic. Shooting par is a given and the Ryder Cup unnecessary because we will know the result before it happens. No more head injuries in football because the game will be played on a circuit board. Baseball, tennis etc? All you need is a joy stick.

As I sit in this metal tube some 38,000 feet above the ground I think travel will come to a halt. Check out virtual reality to transport us. You will travel to faraway places without leaving your living room. Strapping on the Oculus goggles, you will be right smack in the Taj Mahal or Sistine Chapel. You can ski down the Matterhorn without killing yourself. Board meetings? Your seat will be your Barcalounger and you will be privy to every facial reaction and nuance at the table. You will have a printout that will tell you the boss is cheating on you and his wife. It is right there in his DNA.

Speaking of which, healthcare will take care of itself. My nephew tells me we will have a portal we pass through every day and it will determine minute changes in the cellular structure of all of our various poundages. It will attack tumors or viruses at their very onset enabling all of us to live to be 150. Ain’t that a treat!

Relationships? No sweat. By body chemistry you will be able to discover if Mr or Miss Wonderful is really right for you. Bars will close and liquor sales will plunge because the pickup lines and groveling for phone numbers will be passe’. As a matter of fact driverless cars, virtual dating and artificial insemination will make any sort of physical contact not the best use of your valuable free time. I guess that is good?

Does all this sound crazy? Maybe yes? Maybe no? The cognoscenti think it is not if but when. I think with our mega egos, we just may get beyond the tipping point without realizing we overshot it. We may have created a monster or our own doing and at our own peril. There may be nothing artificial nor intelligent about that. It may be plain dumb.

As always
Ted The Great.

Factoids:

Customer relationship management (CRM) is a term that refers to practices, strategies and technologies that companies use to manage and analyze customer interactions and data throughout the customer lifecycle, with the goal of improving business relationships with customers, assisting in customer retention and driving future commerce.

This is the “new world” AI seeks. They want to do this all through cyberware. Interesting but provocative. It is wonderful we can put machines to use for us. It is when the machines view us the other way around that gets me thinking.

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