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Robots Got You Worried?

January 21, 2017

Among all the troubling aspects of modern life, some have added worries about robots. Driverless cars, Robots, computers and other gadgets give us the creeps. One company even advertises that it is “bringing robots to life.”

That idea has unleashed a backlash. Uber, for example, was kicked out of San Francisco and moved to Pittsburgh where local regulations permit testing of driverless cars.

The “Burgh.” as it is called by locals. is very proud of Carnegie Mellon University and rightly so. CMU has become the focus of high technology research and attracts the best and the brightest computer Geeks from around the world. And, today, the local paper in Pittsburgh reports that CMU has developed a computer that can beat a human being at the game of poker

Should we worry?  Even if we don’t play Blackjack or Poker, these machines are creeping into areas that are the domain of human beings.

Well, I think not.

There are several forms of reasoning and computers, and their programmers, excel at serial reasoning. That type of reasoning, placing one number after another, requires a special skill and numbness against boredom.

Another type of reasoning is more exciting and involves conceptualizing, the use of concepts to create new realities. Sometimes conceptual reasoning mixes with serial reasoning, usually when a concept is tested against a multitude of variables. The formation of a concept, what we call “thinking” is a superior form of reasoning.

Concepts start enterprises that create entire industries and some people are just plain good at doing that. Steve Jobs is one such person.

The troubling thing about these people is that they usually didn’t go to college and earn a college degree. I don’t think we can conclude that all colleges destroy our ability to “think,” but I’m afraid that most colleges do precisely that. Here’s a link to a report that American universities voted for Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump.

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