Thursday, January 27, 2011

“Jeopardy” in Jeopardy

I’m told a super computer called Watson will soon be a contestant on Jeopardy. “I’ll take signs the machines are taking over for a thousand, Alex.” Does this feel like the beginning of a Sci-Fi movie with a very unhappy ending to anyone else? I’m sure the Terminator’s back story was that he debuted on a game show before crushing mankind and then traveling back in time to stop the head of the resistance from being born.

QSN: How the man from the future, sent back in time by the Humans to ensure that the rebel leader is born, is the rebel leader’s father is a prime directive nightmare that still bothers me. I hate it when time traveling movies get cute.

Man won’t be happy until he completely makes himself obsolete. The day we say…

US: Look the machines can do all the work…

Is the day the machines say…

MACHINES: Then why do we need you. Human existence does not compute…

Why not let a computer host Jeopardy? Many movies already use computer generated actors. If the computers are doing everything we used to do then what is there for us to do? Spoken not like a technophobe but more a person who loves computers but loves people more.

Wouldn’t it be wonderfully terrifying to find that the most major share holder in the top 100 companies in the world is actually a computer that embezzled a nickel from everyone in the world back in the 80’s and invested it all in corporations. Crazy, but it would explain some things wouldn’t it?

Perhaps the human spirit will continue to reign over machine. Perhaps humans have that indescribable quality that Je ne sais quoi to win the battle against machine. John Henry beat the steam engine and then victoriously dropped dead. I hope we get to enjoy our win.

QSN = Quick Side Note

The Watson Super Computer competing on Jeopardy will air on February 14,15 & 16, 2011.

Monday, January 03, 2011

What’s My Queue

If patience is a virtue, nothing offers more opportunity to get your virtue on than standing in line. Be it the post office, airport, bank or butcher*; it just seems like people being serviced at the window judge the quality of the experience by how long they get to stand there. This is very interesting considering they were in line just moments ago when their quality gauge was strictly based on how little time the people being served ahead of them took. Classic case of the oppressed becomes the oppressor.

I’m okay with people needing to perform complex transactions but sometimes there’s over the top self indulgence at the window. Like when you’re in the bank and you catch wind of the conversation a person at the window is having with the teller and he’s asking the teller how inflation works and doing Eany Meany Miny Moe to decide if he should get cats or flowers on his checks…best two out of three.

That time is your time. I’m not telling window person to rush lest they forget something and have to re-enter the queue. I’m just saying don’t forget where you came from…THE LINE. It was you window person just minutes ago sighing loudly and shifting your body weight side to side like a restless six year old. Don’t get to the window and act like it’s a spa.

I apologize to anyone who’s ever been behind me in line at a post office. In my defense, mass mailings take mass postage. In a check in line at Heathrow airport, I timed a guy with one lousy piece of luggage took 5 minutes to check in. That’s an eternity. There’s not 5 minutes worth of things to do at an airport check-in counter. I checked in minutes later. I checked a bag, gave my frequent flyer number and confirmed my aisle seat. The whole thing took just over a minute.

What I taketh from the post office I giveth back at the airport. I tried to tell them, we’re all in this together**

* Butcher? Just wanted to make sure you were paying attention and appeal to any readers who live in places with butchers or any time travelers giving my blog a gander…How about this internet huh?!

**Line from KRS-One song. “I’m still Number One”