Dear Boys,

We are in the age of the Computer Revolution. Everywhere, people are making smarter computers, and at a consumer level, smart phones and other electronic products are getting smarter, and unfortunately, humans getting dumber.

‘Anything that you can repetitively do 5 times, the same way, can be automated.’

Every now and then we will hear on the social media, how a baby drowned because the mother is to engrossed on her phone. Oh, there are other cases, I’m sure. We don’t have to look at the news, everyday, I see people engrossed over their 5 inch (some 6) and becomes oblivious to their world. I get caught up in that sometimes, but I do make a mandate not to text while I’m walking or mobile. Seems odd, but I do stop to finish my text messages before moving on. And yes, while I drive, no phones, PERIOD.

This discussion is not about Digital Policy, I wrote about that already. Its about the more current socio-economic environment, where many people fear that robots are taking away human jobs. I think it will be quite a while before robots really catch up to human level of thinking and advances.

Why?

Humans, for all our fallacies, frailties and faults, made this world humans. While we tell a lot of self-centred humans out there, ‘The Earth was here, first. ” Likewise, we can tell the machines, ‘The Humans was here first.’ They may evolve, to take over the human race on earth, I can see that coming, but that will be a long time away. By then, Robots will be so intellegent, they will be waging war against other robots, sidelining the lesser species, the Homo Sapiens.

So while we say ‘The Earth was here first”, we are mother nature’s first lover, albeit not a very good one, as many humans rape, pillage and plunder Mother Nature’s resources. The better, human side of us is able to relate and experience, what our surroundings have for us. Machines, at this current level, can only learn.

Take a hike!

For example, I went for a hike recently, enjoying the scenic walk, also testing out my new boots. It was for fun, just to get out of the concrete jungle. While I was there, I totally immerse myself into the environment, feeling the breeze, walking and walking, getting into streams just to try out the water-proofing for my boots (which held up well for s S$50 boots) I feel at a deeper sense a relationship with nature. That’s an experience. The total distance was a good 15 kilometers, I think.

Can a machine do that?

Why not? After all it is just a distance. There are already a ‘bot’ walking with me, That’s my app, on my phone, called Runkeeper. Okay, let’s talk about a physical equivalent, yes, the very smart guys from Boston Dynamics, has created eerily humanistic machines, called Big Dog, Small Dog, which can tackle the kind of terrain I walked for 15 km. The difference is that, the machine will learn the terrain, overcome it, handles the ebb and flows of it, but will not enjoy it. There will be nothing attached to the endeavour, except data and function. The machine will learn, to stoop low, to get past an overhang, go slow, going downhill. Data will be obtained, everything the camera sees, helps the entire machine to manage the journey. That’s it.

They will never ‘get it’ that the whole 15km is about an abstract, random, serendipitous feel. The experience that I felt, looking at all the trees there, with respect and awe, these living things are here first, older than me, wiser than me. Me, a little puny human being, dwarfed by the enormity of the jungle, and yet so fortunate to have this gift of life.

Repetition is the key to robotisation

My mantra is ‘Anything that you can repetitively do 5 times, the same way, can be automated.’ I probably heard that from somewhere else, but it makes sense, and that will be how the machines rise. It will rise from the ashes of the Industrial Revolution, because we humans want to be productive, and make the same things over and over again, until some lazy bastard came along and invented stuffs to do that for us.

So is learning.

So don’t learn. experience. Learning is only one part, the input of information into our brains, learning is repeated again and again until we ‘get it’. But we don’t get it all the times, and I think that is fine, as long as you get the experience about it and from there a lesson. Experience,  is unique, it cannot be repeated. It is a whole body immersion, the problem is, in schools they expects you to learn, using only specific part of our body, if we continue to do that, machines can catch up, because they exist for a specific purpose, function and design. The fact that we still beat machines, is because we are a total, holistic system, the machines not yet. I can pluck out a key from the keyboard, the computer will still work, and will not feel pain, obviously. Try pulling a fingernail out of a person’s hand.

So we need to make learning experiential, then we can continue to be humans, because it is our own unique experiences that makes us one of a kind, any other form of learning, makes us human computers, pretending to be the real computers. And when we lose our originality, our original purpose, the real computers will take over.

 

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