Tuesday, February 15, 2011


So their is a computer on Jeopardy, his name is Watson, and he is "smart." Well actually he is knowledgeable, as in he contains a lot of knowledge, or data. It all got thinking about something that has always upset me, that everyone confuses the concept of intelligence versus knowledge. In our society we believe that being knowledgeable is a sign of intelligence and most times we just think they are interchangeable adjectives. Well they aren't, being knowledgeable is based on a few things, mainly memory and prior access to information, it also helps to have a desire to absorb a set of data.
This is how it starts...right?
Being intelligent is well here is the definition: having the capacity for thought and reason especially to a high degree. then the dictionary gives an example: "is there intelligent life in the universe?" Obviously no one "knows" this, however you could argue that having knowledge about the statistical variables that would help make an educated thought. But knowing their are billions of planets is not the same as forming an intelligent response.
I did NOT obtain any rights from www.cartoonstock.com.
So here is my intelligent response to the question "is there intelligent life in the universe?" (first lets just assume the dictionary meant except for Earth) Probably not, at least not right at this instant (yes, I am sticking with a linear time-line in my analysis). While you can argue that their are trillions of stars and their for trillions of planets, first most stars are too unstable to have a perfect zone for the elements of life, second life and intelligent life are like planets and habitable planets. Billions of different life forms have lived or are living on planet Earth only one species has evolved to the point of intelligent thought. And we barely made it, basically the only reason we are around today is because our ancestors were ultra-lucky. So yes I believe life exists throughout the universe, and yes I think we are alone in the sense that no other life forms in the universe are wondering if their is something else out their.

Here is what a computer, even Watson would say: .............. So no computers are not to the point of thinking, all the Watson does is recognize human language and search a huge data base for the most likely answer. If Watson doesn't have the answer in his data set, he can't answer the question.
Watson is a room full of computing technology, not just some design friendly screen. So no you won't be able to buy a computer that can figure out that when you typed smttz.com you meant STMTZ.com
Is it a huge step forward? Yes! Is it the beginning of the end of the necessity for humans for problem solving and abstract thought. Unfortunately we seem to have hit a point where abstract thought is considered a waste of time. Speaking of I think I'll go watch some TV and increase my knowledge base on whatever in is Snooki is doing.


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