Where would computers be without us? All we hear is how computers are better, faster, more accurate and they might replace us. I think it is time to remind ourselves how we are still superior to the computer. Computers need us.
OK, not the exact science itself but something close. Computers are having a hard time understanding how to move an individual atom using a laser. We are having to teach it by having it watch us do the task ourselves. This is where it gets weird. The computer is watching us play a game where we move a bucket of sloshing water from one place to another. You can even play this game and take part in teaching the computer. Evidently, no matter how smart the computer, it can’t gather water without spilling it.
Computers can do anything they are programmed to do. But, what about something so absolutely new that it hasn’t been thought of before? Humans still rule when it comes to creativity. Now we can prove all those old science fiction stories true. Remember when Kirk fried the circuits of an old probe by having it solve Pi to the last digit and capping it off with proving it was wrong? Computers can’t handle being wrong, but we humans do it all the time. That doesn’t stop us.
Humans can pick through all sorts of things and decide what is important and what is not. Can a computer? Give a computer a list of several items and ask it which one doesn’t belong. You can say an apple doesn’t belong with the basketball, baseball and football but the computer can’t on its own. Not sure? Send a robot to the scene of a crime and ask it what clues are relevant or not. It wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between a solid clue and a wild goose chase.
The fantasy of a future Utopia was originally to have the robots do all of the hard work. But, be careful what you wish for. While robots can vacuum a rug or heat a previously prepared meal, I wouldn’t trust a robot with cutting my hair. Would a robot hold up the next cut if I sneezed? I would hope so but I think I would rather do it myself.
This is an obvious cop out but it is so true. Can a computer laugh or cry? Can it get angry enough to do something or happy enough to celebrate being alive? No matter how smart computers get, they cannot feel emotions. they cannot enjoy a warm summer afternoon or the breeze coming off of the ocean. Sure we can program it to simulate but it doesn’t really feel it. The computer is faking it. And you thought Spock had a hard time figuring out human emotions? Computers don’t even know they exist. Of course, when it really comes down to it, if the computer ever did realize emotions exist, I doubt it would really care.