Stop the beeping!

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            I recently turned seventy, and have reminders everywhere. It’s not just old hips and knees, but an old brain. Once I was a go to guy for computer problems. Now my five- and seven-year-old granddaughters know more than I. I see them on their tablets becoming smarter by the second. It’s not only young people, it’s things. I recently rented a car on a trip. The car kept speeding up and slowing down on its own. Apparently, it thought I was too close to other cars. It also kept beeping at me (very annoying) and telling me to stay in the center of my lane. It was kind of like my father-in-law had taken control of my car. He was the most cautious driver I’ve ever known.

            At one time, I was a huge Trekkie. In some ways we’ve already advanced beyond their projections for the future. We are already past Captain Kirks flip phone, and our computers don’t have to say “computing” while they are thinking of answers. Answers are nearly instantaneous. Still a transporter would be nice, although quite impossible, breaking several rules of physics. Warp speed is still in question, with some of Einstein’s theories.

            I remember my first college computer science class. You went to the second floor of the computer science building and punched out instructions in computer language on cards. It took a stack of cards about 1/2 thick for the computer to calculate a salesman’s commission. Then you took that stack downstairs to the two full time computer operators. They would feed them into the IBM 365 when time permitted. The unit and auxiliaries took up almost the entire floor. Today’s smart phone has hundreds or thousands of times more capabilities and speed.

            Today advances are happening even faster. AI has been called a new “Industrial Revolution” for good reason. They will soon affect almost every industry, from engineering to medicine. I’m just worried that someday I’ll want to get into my home, and the computer door opener will say, ‘sorry Ron I can’t do that’ (2001 Space Odyssey reference}. When the computers do take over, I just hope one of the first changes is getting rid of Congress. As Spock would say, “It’s only logical”.

            But really, with technology advances happening so fast, how will human beings keep up? We are only able to advance at an evolutionary pace. The hope is that as advances happen, uses will become simpler, as opposed to more complicated. Dictation will take place instead of keyboards. Or computers will read our minds (scary thought). Already, brain implants are allowing quadriplegic patients to manipulate keyboards with their minds. The first picture in my mind when I think about that, is a man dictating a business letter to a colleague, when a pretty woman walks by. Dangerous, right!

            I’ll let you go now. I have to get back to remembering, which streaming service has my favorite show. As Spock would say, “fascinating”. Live long and prosper. 🖖

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