Friday, March 11, 2011
I've embedded the video below. It's over 5 minutes long, but I perked up out of my stupor at about the 3-minute mark when they started talking about how the seemingly simplest of human traits are the ones that are most difficult for computers to imitate. Of course, they only seem simple to us because we are human.
I really woke up when the author said that, while it's relatively easy to program a computer to answer Jeopardy questions, the hard part is getting it to walk on stage and greet Alex Trebek. Holy crap, that sounds just like my kid. He gave other examples of everyday things that are nearly impossible to get a computer to do: step around puddles (can you say motor planning?) and have simple conversations (don't even get me started).
At the 4:20 mark, he got into theory of mind and I actually un-reclined my La-Z-Boy with a jolt and sat at attention. You mean people really talk about this stuff outside of the realm of autism? He talked about how the human mind is uniquely able to see things from not only their own perspective but hold in their minds the perspective of many others. ToM, as we say in the biz, is one of the very things that researchers believe to be lacking in those with autism.
Could it be that my ASD daughter has more in common with computers than just being obsessed with watching cooking videos on them? Is her brain more like a computer than a human's? Should I be worried about someone downloading her and training her to lead a superior race of androids that will travel back in time to annihilate the woman who is carrying the child that will lead the resistance against them? I may have watched The Terminator on Scyfy that night too.
I was going to do a Top 10 list of other ways that Audrey is like a computer but I couldn't get past both melting down when they get water poured on them. Also, old people can't figure out how to interact with either of them. Neither functions well in Acrobat mode? A computer is done for when it has a fried motherboard; Audrey is done for when her bored mother gets fried? Yeah, I got nothing.
Obviously, the comparison is not complete. For one thing, the author said that computers are way too polite and that it's hard to program them to have moods or to be crabby and irritable. I'll stop worrying about that whole android thing now.
Posted by Lynn at 6:43 AM