If you’re one of those people who says you’d never get into a car that drives itself, I’d like you to think back to Apollo 11 on its 50th anniversary. Pretty much that spacecraft’s entire journey between the Earth and the moon was run by computers with little astronaut input along the way. In that case, the occupants trusted the scientists and engineers who developed, programmed, and built brand new technology to not only get them to their destination, but to avoid sending them off to a sure death in the vast blackness of space. And they did it both ways. Considering how much more computing power they’re now building into autonomous vehicles than was even available in the Apollo era, your fears seem misguided.
It thrills me that computer science pioneer Alan Turing (subject of the Benedict Cumberbatch movie “The Imitation Game”) will be the face of the new fifty-pound note in Britain, a country that has also honored Charles Darwin, Michael Farady, and Florence Nightingale. It must be nice to live in a society that puts such an emphasis on science that it recognizes the contributions of top people in their fields thusly, not just politicians and royalty.
I was never a big online poker player, even before Black Friday in 2011, when Pokerstars and Full Tilt Poker were shut down in the United States. One reason I didn’t dabble in it much was my lack of confidence in its security. It was far too easy for two or three other players at the virtual table to, in reality, be in the same room, sharing hand information and strategies to collude against others. Another reason was that I was wary of online bots, which began encroaching on many of the sites. Now comes word of Pluribus, a piece of AI software that recently beat five top poker professionals at No Limit Texas Hold ‘Em. Artificial intelligence enthusiasts were, well, enthusiastic about this news, but no one who still plays online poker should be.
My newest pet peeve is people having phone conversations where we hear both sides because the other person is on speaker. The offenders walk down the sidewalk not holding the phone to their ears or using ear buds to keep it to themselves. Instead, they have the volume on full blast, an invasion of our mutual audio space. I’ve even heard them doing this indoors, in restaurants, either unaware they’re annoying other humans nearby or just not caring. They should be discouraged as often as possible.
When I get an email with the subject line, “Tell us what you think,” what goes through my head is, “I think I’ll delete you without reading the rest of your message.” Then it goes through my hand, which completes the physical manifestation of that thought.