Or, Name That Sword
A couple of weeks ago, the Core Team attended, with great pleasure, a panel discussion at the virtual CogX conference chaired by Robbie Stamp. A lot of questions were asked, and there was much food for thought. So much so, in fact, that we've devoted an entire section of this week's Post issue to the theme of AI. We hope you'll enjoy it, and join in the debate. Awix has pitched in with an AI-related cinema review. Don't miss it.
h2g2 is a great place for topics like this. We've got a lot of different backgrounds and varying expertise, also a diversity of viewpoints. Forewarned: since you hear a lot from Your Editor here, I should state up-front that I part company with Robbie and his experts on one key point, which is how important anthropomorphism is in the development of AI. I think people like to talk to 'Siri' and 'Alexa' because they're being advertised into it. I don't think personality is intrinsic to AI, or necessary. I don't want to have a relationship with my toaster, and I don't know anybody who does.
Okay, I don't own a toaster. But if I did, I wouldn't want it to wish me a good morning.
See that sword over there? If you're a King Arthur fan, you know that it has a name in the original folklore. Not sure what FWR's calling his, which is now installed in his magic garden. After he broke three drill bits on it. That part's not in the sagas. Beowulf had a sword, too, called Hrunting. Pat Buttram had a jeep he called 'Nellie Belle', but it still ran on petrol.
My point is that we've tended to talk babytalk to our tools for as long as anyone can remember. But we don't confuse them with people. Even if Elektra did severely berate Tom, the Poland Spring AI, every time she wanted to order bottled water. Poland Spring is in Maine, you see. Tom was equipped with voice recognition software. Have you ever heard a Maine accent? Elektra has a Philadelphia accent. You see the problem.
So, do you want your AI to be a Plastic Pal Who's Fun to Be With? Do you have Views on the Subject? If so, join Robbie and the rest of us in discussing the same. But remember: you have to read the articles first.
What else is in this week's Post? Let's see:
- There's a new fiction series! Reefgirl's the writer's name, psychic goings-on are her game. Take a trip back to the Roaring Twenties. More fun than our Twenties, for sure! It's a continuing saga.
- Enjoy the bounty of h2g2's backyards and their nature. In this issue, we've got more birds and bugs, plus flowers, trees, and oh, yes, that sword in the stone. FWR is obviously, if not right-born king of England, at least the heir to Wieland the Smith.
- We take trips to surprising places, like Alaska with Phred Firecloud, where you'll learn about copper and see a moose. Also to Amy P's laptop, to meet Clementine, this week's Obligatory Cat.
- We've got plenty of the usual features: Willem's wildlife, Bluebottle's snark, cartoons, comics, and a quiz.
- There's plenty of video fun, too. From Alaska to Tavaron's house, where she has a baby blackbird as a guest. Also the Post Office bird feeder, which sees plenty of action.
- A new Create Challenge! This one concerns public art. Is your community graced with the garish and abstract? Do people like that statue of Assurbanipal the Third? Do they feel it should be torn down, now that we know about his secret pancake fetish? Get out your cameras and get ready to report on this pressing topic. Why it's pressing, we're not sure, the statues can't run very fast, but hey, we have our collective fingers on the planetary pulse. At least, the ones we're not using to operate our electronic thumbs…
It's midsummer, folks, and the Editor has been verging on heatstroke. So be nice about the jokes, read the Stuff, leave friendly comments, and take care until next week!
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Quote of the Week:
A priest, a rabbit and a minister walk into a bar. The bartender asks the rabbit, 'What will you have?'
The rabbit says, 'I dunno. I'm only here because of Autocorrect.'
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