The Computer Can Make People Smarter

Facebook, Amazon, Google, IBM, and Microsoft Come Together To Create Historic Partnership On AI

The new organization really seems to be about promoting change by example. Rather than preach to the tech world, it wants to use a standard open license to publish research on topics including ethics, inclusivity, and privacy.

There have been rumbles about this for some time. These companies were checking to see if they could get away with such audacious behavior. It’s one thing to talk about ethical behavior – but actually doing it can raise some hackles.

I worked in Southern California in high-tech (this is what we called it then) from 1980-1990. And then from 1990 to 2000 in Silicon Valley in computers, mostly software. To use an analogy from WWI – I spent time in the trenches, and I suffered from shell-shock.

I saw some glimmers of hope – Java made its appearance, for example. But I also saw how the industry didn’t understand it – even as it shot them down in flames. I could relate to the brave bomber crews in WWII – who went to their deaths learning nothing.

It wasn’t as messy in the Nineties – there weren’t dead bodies lying around, stinking up the place. But anyone with any imagination – could see blood flowing between the cubicles.

The world was a bad as ever – but this was not as obvious. The numbers for the economy were better than ever. Money was everywhere – but not a person was in sight. People had become superhuman – Nietzsche’s übermensche – and were no longer interested in being human.

Boom! Along came the Computer – and turned everything on its head. Artificial Intelligence made ordinary intelligence necessary again.

It made me remember how, when I was first learning about the Computer – I quickly realized that it was the perfect tool for writing. It let you push around text as you liked – trash text you didn’t want, and replace it – instantly!

Now, every day, I set down in front of my computer – and write to my heart’s content. I accepts whatever I write – and stores in in the Cloud – which is getting too full of my stuff.


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