Thanksgiving meant 2 flights (one home and one back here). I decided to pack up a few books that I’ve been meaning to read. I started “Out of Our Minds – Learning to be Creative” by Sir Ken Robinson. We posted Sir Robinson’s wonderful speech on creativity and education from last years TED conference. That’s where we first learned about him. He’s a creativity and education guru and we’re big fans.

Chapter 2 discusses things like Moore’s Law . Robinson cites a source, an article by R. Kurzweil entitled “The coming merging of mind and machine” from Scientific American way back in Autumn 1999. One hypothesis in the article is that “within the next ten years (that would be 2009) the intelligence of machines could replace that of humans. Within several decades, machines could exhibit the full range of human intellect, emotions and skills ranging from musical and other creative attitudes to physical movement.”

With only two years to go, (it is almost 2007), I am not worried about the “intelligence of machines” replacing humans. Here’s my evidence.

I have TiVo. Don’t get me wrong, While I don’t watch a ton of TV, I love that I can easily record things, fast forward through the boring parts, and rewind live TV. Since I would characterize myself as a “multi-tasker,” having rewind has changed the way I watch television. I can’t watch sans-TiVo. That would mean paying full attention, and I just can’t devote that much focus to the tube.

Anyway, TiVo is supposed to be superior to the DVR because it’s ’smart.’ It will choose programs that it ‘thinks’ you might like. Here’s what my TiVo has to go on.
I watch (and occasionally record):
the news (to supplement the papers),
How it’s Made (because I like seeing how kayaks, bread and ballpoint pens are manufactured),
MXC (for the excellent commentary),
Martha Stewart (to see her passive aggressiveness and learn 20 things I need to know),
Laguna Beach (to watch American kids in a ritzy zip code that need subtitles to be understood),
the Animal Planet (I leave it on for the dog),
Grey’s Anatomy (good Thursday night)
Any equestrian event (duh)
And, the Tour de France (because I could not do that on my best day)

Now based on that, TiVo regularly decides (on it’s own) to record:
The Shield on FX
Spanish Telenovellas on Telemundo, etc.
Aerobics shows on FitTV
A Wedding Story on TLC
Room Raiders on MTV
Sessions of Congress on CSPAN

Apparently, TiVo used its reasoning and thinking abilities and deduced that:
I speak Spanish (I do, but only at the level of a 3 year old),
I need to lose a few (I’ve got that under control, thanks),
I like Michael Chiklis (can’t say that I do),
I’m getting older and need to settle down (no comment),
I might enjoy a ridiculous dating show for teens (I’ll take some blame here, I did ask it to record Laguna Beach)
And, I have insomnia and might need a good filibuster to help me sleep (knowing my luck that would keep me awake).

So, there’s my proof that artificial intelligence is a little farther away than some might think. I know I should have more proof to support my view. I will post them as I complete each evaluation.

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