Watson v. Deep Thought

by Michelle Lasley

Michelle Lasley is a mother, wife in Pacific Northwest learning to balance green dreams with budget realities.

April 4, 2011

Watson has premiered on Jeopardy and kicked butt.

The calculator.

Word processors, spell check, spelling.

Excel, new tool, goal tracker or similar.

Smarter suburban kids with what we ask them to juggle.

What will the future look like?

Will we have Deep Thought via Watson who can answer (42) the question to the Life, the Universe, and Everything? Will we know the question?

Watching Watson a few weeks ago was like watching real life version of Douglas’ Deep Thought. He didn’t get all the questions right. There was a process. There was a voice. There was this artificial intelligence. Watching was both awe inspiring and frightening. Look at all the amazing things we have tried and have created. Look at our destruction in our worst fears. 1984, Fahrenheit 451, Aldous Huxley, movies – Eagle Eye, I Robot, 2001: A Space Odyssey flooding my brain as Watson answered question after question: correctly.

This fear that our desire for technology to make life easier — that in its intelligence will realize what we all know: we are the problem but we choose to be the problem and the solution — but it will focus on the tenant that humans are the problem and must be eradicated. We are the cause of our own destruction.

I want a beautiful life for my son, my nieces, my nephew. I want them to be able to do as we have done: attempt or realize our own potential. I want them to have dreams. I want them to have brilliant cares, travels, adventures. I want them to live without fear.


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