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A Machine To Think For Us

1333 words - 6 pages

A Machine to Think for US
When I was nine or ten years old, Dad and I would watch reruns of the television show Star Trek. Back then, I would have never imagined that so much of the “technology” in the program would become a reality. Talking, thinking, responsive computers and tiny personal communication devices, for example, just seemed like science fiction. Now they are not only a reality, but they are an indispensable part of everyday life. I can hardly imagine the developments in technology that my children will experience.
Thinking of the future and trends in technology, at this time I believe there is almost no limit to what humans are capable of creating. Technology ...view middle of the document...

This computer is known as Watson (Satell, 2013). Watson is a computer that uses artificial intelligence and cognitive technology (Watson, 2014). It responds to normal language and it learns from feedback from the user. The applications for this technology are without limit. The Watson computer, because it understands normal language, it can analyze unstructured data that make up as much as 80% of today’s data (Watson, 2014). This makes it a far more powerful tool for gathering information than Google. This computer exists today and is in use by a variety of industries. Imagine what will exist in another 10 or 20 or 30 years.
Imagine a computer that can reason and make educated choices rather than reporting a predetermined answer to set computer equations. A computer that thinks and has access to all the world’s information, in real time, would change how we live our lives. Consider if you had a powerful computer to consult before making a big decision. It’s one thing to ask Siri for directions to a restaurant, and another to ask the future offspring of Watson to assist in meeting your financial goals. A Watson like computer of the future could instantly analyze market histories and trends and recommend where to invest and recommend strategies to achieve my custom financial goals.
The computer of the future would also help provides sound medical advice for me and my family. I could tell my computer, speaking, not typing, a list of possible conditions and it could advise whether or not I should see a doctor. Then, when I get to the doctor he uses similar technology to make a diagnosis and recommend a treatment. In the future, the doctor will connect me to a variety of sensors that feed information into the computer and the computer will search and cross reference all known medical data and compare that to my body’s data. The computer can help my doctor formulate an effective treatment plan using the latest medical information.
Is it conceivable that a Watson like computer could perform my duties as an Air Traffic Controller? If a computer could analyze data in three dimensions and anticipate pilot actions, then yes, I could be replaced. It seems already that the Federal Aviation Administration is trying to take the human controllers out of the process, but if something were to happen to the computer, then what? (Fallows, 2011). Computers are already reducing controller workload by automating manual tasks and this does help (Cleared for Takeoff, 2014). Reducing controller workload is helpful but I’m suspicious of a fully automated National Airspace System. I also have trouble believing that the general public would trust a computer, no matter how smart it is, to handle all aspects of keeping airplanes from hitting each other. It would require so many redundancies that it would probably be impractical to replace the controllers...

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