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  • About Those Smart Machines

    Posted by David Foster on March 12th, 2014 (All posts by )

    Lots of talk these days about smart machines, brilliant machines, even genius machines.

    For balance, read this post about Stupid Smart Stuff.

    See also my post when humans and robots communicate.


    4 Responses to “About Those Smart Machines”

    1. Michael Hiteshew Says:

      I watched a program on AI maybe ten years ago. Computer scientists and engineers at MIT were trying to teach a robot to move about autonomously. They described the problem:

      Roads are wide, and they’re black. Cars use the road.
      Sidewalks are thin, and they’re white. People use sidewalks.
      Stay on the sidewalk.

      Until the sidewalk is asphalt. Or really wide. Or it’s brick. Or the road is brick. Or painted brick. Or a tractor is cutting the grass. Or people are walking on the grass. Or in the road. Now what? And that’s just moving around campus.

      They said you can’t really appreciate how sophisticated human intelligence is, even that of a child, until you try to replicate it.

    2. Alan K. Henderson Says:

      I once saw a Smart Car at Lowe’s. Lowe’s has merchandise larger than that car.

    3. ErisGuy Says:

      Perhaps it’s time for vitalism to make a comeback.

    4. Bill Brandt Says:

      I got back from a 1300 mile road trip. I have this old Sony GPS and occasionally its antics made me wonder just how that thing was programmed.

      More than once, it had me going though neighborhoods – and turns – when at the end it became obvious that a block away I could have just stayed on the main boulevard to get to my destination.

      There was no “common sense” subroutine.