By Michael Ramirez
It’s amazing how science fiction can often foretell the future. Science fiction stories and movies have been predicting what the world to come would look like for decades.
Remember Spock asking questions to Star Trek’s version of Alexa almost 60 years ago? Scottie probably could have utilized Alexa to warn him before he needed more dilithium crystals. Personally, I think the Enterprise was always running low on power because they switched from fusion matter-antimatter dilithium reactor technology to the Green New Deal.
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Star Trek also had zoom - video communication on giant screens on the wall, touch screen monitors, hand-held communication devices, and I’m pretty sure Lt. Uhura was using one of the original Plantronics blue tooth earpieces.
It is fascinating that many scenes from these movies are coming to fruition today. We don’t have the Jetson’s flying cars yet, but we do have drones. Trust me, they are coming. I saw an ad for an apartment in New York with a landing pad.
The movie, The Terminator, predicted an apocalyptic future destroyed by Artificial Intelligence. If you turn on C-SPAN, you would know, it is already happening.
I’m not talking about the artificial intelligence of the new conversational AI powered tools, they pose their own unique set of problems.
ChatGPT, Microsoft’s New Bing or Google’s Bard, these artificial-intelligence chatbots can write books, compose poetry, do your homework… and give educational institutions the fits. Financial diviners and commercial clairvoyants predict these AI chatbots to be the future. What they can’t do, is guarantee the answers are not wrong.
For example, when Google demonstrated Bard, one of the test questions was, “What new discoveries from the James Webb Space Telescope can I tell my 9-year-old about?” Bard responded, “JWST took the very first pictures of a planet outside of our solar system.”
Google’s stock dropped about $100 billion in market value after Bard’s error.
Ironically, if Bard had just Googled, “When was the first picture of an exoplanet taken?”… It would have learned that it was actually taken by the VLT (Very Large Telescope) in 2004.
Microsoft’s New Bing didn’t fare much better. In fact, one of the stories I read quotes Bing’s new FAQ stating, “the AI can make mistakes,” and that “Bing will sometimes misrepresent the information it finds, and you may see responses that sound convincing but are incomplete, inaccurate, or inappropriate.”
While these AI programs are great at generating answers that are plausible, ostensibly logical, with voluminous information that sounds entirely convincing, and delivered with great confidence, they often are factually incorrect.
Does that sound familiar to you? Back to C-Span…
As it turns out, we already have “Artificial Intelligence.” No, not in some movie. Although, Predator (Congress), and The Abyss (our national debt) immediately come to mind. Dumb and Dumber certainly predicted today’s political environment.
The AI that I am talking about is… politicians. They have been delivering professedly convincing but incomplete, inaccurate, misleading, and factually incorrect information for generations.
Every once in a while, I would have lunch with my friends, Stan Freberg and Ray Bradbury. Frank Sinatra Jr. joined us. It was hilarious. We talked politics and culture, and decried the dumbing down of our institutions, the transformation of objective news into infotainment, and the intellectual decay of the national conversation.
Ray had foreseen the rise of self-censorship, and the dangers of political correctness. His vison of a dystopian future is coming to fruition right before our eyes. Utilizing modern technology, electronic surveillance, the confluence of large screens and social influencers, book burning, social media, and a domineering autocracy telling you what to think and how to act, are progressively eliminating individualism and liberty.
Artificial intelligence may not lead us to Skynet anytime soon, but you don’t need machines to destroy humanity.
Bing cautions the user to “exercise their own judgment and double-check the facts” - if only politicians and television commentators would do the same…
Have a wonderful week and “live long and prosper.”
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That guy looks like Scott Adams. I thought he was canceled!
Scientists read science fiction, too. They are bound to follow the same imaginative tracks.
That would be "fare" btw