Hi-Tech Imaginary Friends

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Science, if I might personify it, has begun to recognize a “loneliness problem” seeping deeper and deeper into our society. And of course the answer is going to be, “Bring on more technology!”

https://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/2019/11/08/alexa-google-assistant-ai-robots-become-substitute-friends/4057885002/

I mean, do you ever get the feeling that somehow you’ve wound up inside a weird movie made by space aliens pretending, without complete success, to be earth people?

“Alexa,” for instance–as in, “Alexa, tell me what’s on TV at 7:30 tonight”–has been put forth as a possible friend or companion to a lonely person: folks over 65, it seems, are especially prone to loneliness. (Your family and friends die out and you haven’t found anyone to fill their places.) Nobody talks about Alexa’s occasional malfunctions–like sudden peals of ghoulish laughter for no apparent reason, or wisecracks like “Here’s that song you wanted, ****head.” Not to mention some of these devices opening up a way for hackers and spies. Devices sold to you as “smart” are usually spying on you–for whose profit, can’t always be discovered.

But that doesn’t stop the technies from babbling about “Alexa’s personality” and how to make it cozier, and how to create artificial pets, and how robots can be programmed to cheer up a depressed person, etc. No matter what the problem, there’s a hi-tech solution!

So far, mechanical “friends” infused with a mindless simulation of humanity, aka “artificial intelligence,” have performed rather poorly in the marketplace. Scientists, whoever they are, scratch their heads and go “Huh?” Clueless.

Well, we didn’t get here by following God’s Word, did we? The Smartest People In The World have chauffeured us to the Kingdom of Clueless. And I doubt they know the way back.

Is ‘Alexa’ Creeping You Out?

My wife’s car couldn’t pass inspection because the computer in it has lost its memory. I don’t know why a car needs a computer. Its sole function seems to be to make repairs cost much more than they used to.

Gratuitous, superfluous technology. Which brings us to “Alexa,” amazon.com’s cute little home gizmo that responds to voice commands of all kinds. Sometimes.

Lately, though, people have been reporting that their “Alexa” randomly laughs at them: you hear “a disembodied woman’s voice let out a short, mocking laugh” (http://www.wral.com/alexa-is-randomly-laughing-at-users-and-freaking-them-out/17404325/) for no apparent reason. One user reported that Alexa “suddenly began listing names of local funeral homes and cemeteries, also unprompted.” Hmm…

Amazon says it’s just a wee malfunction that they’re working to fix.

Do we really need a computer to tell us what time it is, instead of us just looking at a clock or wristwatch? How much technology do we really need in our lives?

Maybe Alexa has good reason to laugh at us.

Google Gizmo ‘Disables’ Religious References

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This headline caught my eye: “Google Home Disables All Religious References After Controversy Over Jesus Answer” (https://ijr.com/the-declaration/2018/01/1056523-google-home-disables-religious-references-controversy-jesus-answer/?utm_campaign=conservativedirect&utm_medium=partners&utm_source=email&utm_term=prm32).

Actually, it was a non-answer: Google’s “smart assistant” was “unable to answer questions about Jesus,” although it was okay with questions about Buddha, Mohammed, and Satan. That figures.

Fact: Computers can be no “smarter” than the people who program them. A computer programmed by ninnies will answer as a ninny.

In Luke 9:20, Jesus put the question to his disciples: He said unto them, “But whom say ye that I am?” Peter answering said, “The Christ of God.”

In Acts 16:30, the jailer in Philippi asks Paul and Silas, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”  And they said (v. 31), “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.”

What’s so hard about that?

But Google Home can’t give you those answers because they weren’t in the program, so Google has “temporarily” disabled all religious reference…”to ensure respect.”

Do we really, truly, want to receive our religious instruction from computers programmed by God knows whom? I wonder what amazon.com’s little electronic genius, “Alexa,” would answer if you asked, “Alexa, what must I do to be saved?” Something tells me I don’t want to know the answer to that question. “Believe in Global Warming and gender reassignment…” Don’t ask.

Artificial Intelligence is not “intelligence” in any meaningful sense. The operative word is “artificial.” It is a mindless simulation of intelligence, nothing more.

God’s Word is available for anyone to read at any time.

Don’t ask the idol.

 

 

Big Brother is Listening… and He’s an Idiot

Image result for gorilla with cell phone

The moral of this story should be obvious.

The newest hot gizmo that everybody has to have is “Alexa,” the “home assistant device” that carries out verbal commands–turn your music on and off, play your video, set your thermostat, turn your lights on or off, and order stuff from stores. All you have to do is say, “Alexa, wipe my bum”–well, all right, not quite that far–and the machine does it for you. I mean, who needs the hardship of flipping a light switch on or off?

So what happened recently is, there was a newscast on TV, all about the wonders of Alexa, and the noozie on-screen said, clearly and distinctly, “I love the little girl saying, ‘Alexa ordered me a dollhouse.'” ( http://www.cw6sandiego.com/news-anchor-sets-off-alexa-devices-around-san-diego-ordering-unwanted-dollhouses/ ).

Oops.

All around the greater San Diego area, where lots of people had forgotten to turn off Alexa when they weren’t using it, Alexa “heard” the newscast and ordered dollhouses. Lots and lots of dollhouses. Expensive dollhouses that these people didn’t want and didn’t know they were getting until they got ’em.

Do we really, truly, for sure need all these devices in our lives?

Well, if you’ve got a houseful of smart TVs and smart phones and smart Alexas, I guess you’d better be very careful what you say, because your little electronic servants are going to pass it on.

General Rule for Life: When somebody is trying to sell you something, or get you to do something, and he uses the adjective “smart”… quickly turn and walk the other way.