For John, BLUF: Machines are very, very patient. Nothing to see here; just move along.
Over at The New York Times a Ms Judith Newman talks about her son Gus, who has autism, and how the iPhone App Siri is helping out. The title of the article is "To Siri, With Love: How One Boy With Autism Became B.F.F.'s With Apple’s Siri". Here is the lede:
Just how bad a mother am I? I wondered, as I watched my 13-year-old son deep in conversation with Siri. Gus has autism, and Siri, Apple’s “intelligent personal assistant” on the iPhone, is currently his B.F.F. Obsessed with weather formations, Gus had spent the hour parsing the difference between isolated and scattered thunderstorms — an hour in which, thank God, I didn’t have to discuss them. After a while I heard this:The Siri technology was developed by SRI International, where Mr William Mark is the Vice President for Information and Computing Sciences. He noted:
Gus: “You’re a really nice computer.”
Siri: “It’s nice to be appreciated.”
Gus: “You are always asking if you can help me. Is there anything you want?”
Siri: “Thank you, but I have very few wants.”
Gus: “O.K.! Well, good night!”
Siri: “Ah, it’s 5:06 p.m.”
Gus: “Oh sorry, I mean, goodbye.”
Siri: “See you later!”
That Siri. She doesn’t let my communications-impaired son get away with anything. Indeed, many of us wanted an imaginary friend, and now we have one. Only she’s not entirely imaginary.
See, that’s the wonderful thing about technology being able to help with some of these behaviors. Getting results requires a lot of repetition. Humans are not patient. Machines are very, very patient.Technology holds promise of helping us in many areas. We just have to be careful about it being imposed irresponsibly.
Why my concern about misuse? Because misuse and abuse are inherent in Government, and I don't mean one party or the other. Both.
In today's Washington Post is an OpEd by Mr Ajit Pai, a member of the Federal Communications Commission, titled "The government wants to study ‘social pollution’ on Twitter". It is about a Government Study being done by Indiana University, named, with a node to Steven Colbert, Truthy.
… and its purported aim is to detect what they deem “social pollution” and to study what they call “social epidemics,” including how memes — ideas that spread throughout pop culture — propagate. What types of social pollution are they targeting? “Political smears,” so-called “astroturfing” and other forms of “misinformation.”Here is Mr Pai's pitch:
Truthy’s entire premise is false. In the United States, the government has no business entering the marketplace of ideas to establish an arbiter of what is false, misleading or a political smear. Nor should the government be involved in any effort to squint for and squelch what is deemed to be “subversive propaganda.” Instead, the merits of a viewpoint should be determined by the public through robust debate. I had thought we had learned these lessons long ago.And, he is correct. No business.
And, this is why seats at the FCC are divided up by political party, and on the local License Commission and Election Commission. Diversity of thinking and interest. Not perfect, but a fair approximation.
Regards — Cliff