Re: [asa] Sense and nonsense

From: Merv <>
Date: Sat Jun 23 2007 - 08:56:34 EDT

Iain Strachan wrote:
> "Data" was a very interesting sci-fi creation and highlighted the kind
> of problems you mention. In one episode he tries to learn humour by
> watching recordings of stand-up comics and tries to emulate them. He
> is hopeless and just doesn't "get" it - emphasizing his unfeeling
> "computer" nature. With music, he fares better and produces
> performances that please people, but equally is unable to "feel" but
> can only imitate the masters.
> Perhaps this mirrors real computers - which cannot read except in
> rather an expressionless way (like the "Stephen Hawking" voice that I
> believe is a standard voice on the Mac). However, some music programs
> (such as "Sibelius") have the ability to play "espressivo" - though I
> don't know how well they do this, and what AI is built in to make this
> happen.
> But we should be aware of Moore's law and the exponential increase of
> computing power. When I was 9, my dad took me to his office, and I
> was awe-struck by the electro-mechanical calculating machines that
> could multiply two 10 digit numbers together! They would chunk and
> clatter away for several seconds, and all those digits would whizz up
> on the dials. Now, 40 years later, the computer I'm typing at will do
> 4 billion of those things a second! Given another 40 years and
> another ten orders of magnitude, and it's hard to predict what may be
> achievable (though I still expect that Microsoft Word will be bloated
> and slow and require top of the range computers to run at a realistic
> speed :-). Though I'm sure it'll talk intelligently to you while you
> type and that the paper clip will show a bit more intelligence!
> Iain
Moore's law, unfortunately has a nemesis: Microsoft's law, which
states: "For every doubling of hardware capacity and speed, the demand
placed on it by the OS alone will triple." (I don't know if anyone
actually has quantified this -- but it should be a law.) Remember
when DOS based computers used to do things lightning fast from the
command prompt? So here would be the Trekkie conclusion: Commander
Data may be sort of like the Idiot Savant, who, when he does answer --
says something brilliant, but he spends most of his time frozen and
staring at the corridor wall, still booting up his thousands of support
routines and trying to stay ahead of the new batches of ad-ware
multiplying in his system. Every once in a while, La Forge comes by
and presses his reset button hoping that a reboot will make him
responsive again. (& more episode possibilities: "The Borg --- meet
ad-ware" ... and have never been the same since.)

Captain: "Data -- how much time 'till anti-matter containment fails?"
Data: "I'm sorry -- please wait while I finish my upgrade install of
Adobe reader v.842 after which I will need to restart." (resumes
comatose state)


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Received on Sat Jun 23 08:51:23 2007

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