Monday, February 15, 2016

What if it All Makes Sense?

So I got this fancy new computer recently. Actually, it's not all that fancy. Not the cheapest, but nowhere near the state-of-the-art. I've always been a manual transmission kind of guy. I don't like machines that do too much work for me, mostly because I don't trust the machines to make the right decision. That's the trouble with cars that have automatic transmissions. I'm always wanting to argue with them about what gear I should be in.

Back to the computer. Anyway, this thing is kind of awful. It tries to anticipate what I want done and then do it for me automatically. This is my worst nightmare. At least when I screwed something up on my old computer, I didn't have to look far for the cause. Now, though, this computer does completely random things that I don't ask it to do, or it clicks on something because it knows I intend to click on it and then I click on it and closes the damn thing again. It's insufferable.

I can't even imagine that this is actually a feature people want. Are there any of  you out there who want this feature? Didn't we learn this lesson in the 90s from Microsoft? Honestly, I thought things were getting better in this arena. My 3DS doesn't try to guess what I want it to do. My PS3 doesn't either. Why the hell should my laptop?

Here's the thought that wakes me up at night. What if all this technology is good for us? We all grew up watching Terminator and seeing HAL kill off the crew of the Discovery, so we know we're terrified of computers taking over, but what if somehow, in some way we can't possibly understand, all their decisions make sense? What if, when my computer opens Firefox when I wanted to open Word, it was actually right somehow? What if what I really should have done is open Firefox?

God, now I'm second guessing everything. Maybe we should just let the machines take over. It might not be so bad. We could be living in some kind of silicone paradise, albeit one we probably wouldn't understand. I suppose that it's possible, somehow, that the computers are right and we're wrong, and we should just go with the flow. As much as I'm asking myself these questions, I also keep thinking about that famed island in the south Pacific where there is no crime, no war, no disease, no poverty...

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