Friday, October 7, 2016

Robots Rising

Ever since I read the book The Rise of the Robots and discussed it with a group of very smart people, I have been startled by the amount of artificial intelligence (A.I.) already among us and wonder how much of the future it will determine.

I'm sure the article "Adding a Zero" in this week's New Yorker (the one with Donald Trump as Miss Universe on the cover) was written with the "wow" factor in mind, and it doesn't disappoint.  If you think self-driving cars, airbnb, Uber, and Dropbox are pointing to the future, you are a fossil.  And so am I.

One takeoff point in the article is a profile of Sam Altman who plants a very large footprint in Silicon Valley.  He's tired of people saying he is on the autism spectrum but he is certainly aware that many of autism's "drawbacks" work to his advantage.   Even as Altman and his colleagues work on A.I. being able to incorporate social skills and empathy,  his leadership does not draw upon them.  This makes me wonder if autism will turn out to be a useful adaptation in the evolutionary march ahead.

In the meantime, I know it's boring -- not cute -- when I say I haven't been able to figure out all of the functions of my computer or cell phone. I do like reading about this stuff even as I am left in the dust.

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