If you are too much younger than I, “Good Morning, Dave” may not have any meaning for you. If you are my age or older I am betting you know exactly where that came from. The 1968 film “2001: A Space Odyssey”. The screen play was co-written by Stanley Kubrick and Arthur C. Clarke, two giants in the science fiction genre. In “2001” Hal 9000 is the interactive futuristic computer running their spacecraft. When Hal begins to do odd things, crew members attempt to turn Hal off. Hal kills all of the crew member, excluding David Borman to protect himself and the mission. The computer learned self-preservation.
I thought of this movie this morning as my I-Phone, I-Pad and desk top computer simultaneously began making noises to remind me of an impending meeting. ALL THREE! Scrambling to quiet all of my over-seers, I wonder what they would do if I just ignored them. Then I thought of Hal and figured, no time to take chances. I responded to all of them, quickly. Let’s face it, none of us are really sure what’s going on at Apple and I’m not one to take chances.
The really amazing thing about this is why all three of them were screaming for my attention together. Apple’s “CLOUD” When I enter an appointment in one device it sends it up to “THE CLOUD” who (you notice I’m already humanizing it) immediately sends it back to all my other “smart” devices. They are all watching me. It’s not really a great visual, imagining I always have this cloud hanging over me. Wouldn’t “the Sun” been a better name? It’s nice to think the sun is looking over you all the time, but a cloud? Oh well. Apple seems to know what they are doing.
Thinking about this “Cloud” looking over me led my thoughts to another movie. I like science fiction. Ever heard of “Skynet”? “Skynet” was the National Defense computer in the 1984 film “The Terminator” directed by James Cameron. Skynet was a computer system given control of all nuclear weapons to avoid human error. It was to look over and protect humanity. Skynet, as a network began learning geometrically and became self-aware. Operators fearing what this may lead too, attempted to shut Skynet down. The network took this as an attack and reasoned that all of humanity would attempt to destroy it. Skynet launched its nuclear arsenal killing billions. Skynet, was protecting itself from the human race. I am no tech geek, but “the Cloud” is a network designed to serve man also. I feel relative certain that ‘The Cloud” is not going to become “self-aware” but look at the progress in network computing in the past few years. Is it possible? Where’s Arnold when you need him?
Okay, I admit that I’m not really scared of my I-Phone. As I have mentioned in previous Blogs I am mildly OCD. I am the type of person that would spend the time entering an appointment in three different devices, designed to save me time so I didn’t miss something. A real-time saver, ha? I actually checked up on my cloud the other day. I opened my I-Phone calendar, then proceeded to enter an appointment into my I-Pad. As soon as I hit enter on my I pad I entered that date in the I-Phone and there it was! It wasn’t there before and it just showed up. I then looked at the calendar in my desk top and the appointment was there, waiting to set off its reminder alarm. Glorious Day for the OCD! I think remembering things, especially appointments and commitments to others is important. I can’t say I am one of those that simply remembers. I need help. The cloud makes sure I remember, whether at my desk or half way across the planet with my I-Phone or I-Pad. The Cloud makes me look good. I remember what I said I would do, when I said I would do it. That is showing respect for others and I’m happy to have my little cloud around to help me do that. My cloud also help me keep in touch with the people I need to stay in touch with. If I enter contact information into any of my linked devices, my cloud immediately adds it to the others. That phone number you put in you computer does little good if you are across town in your car, unless you have the cloud. The cloud also entertains me. I love music and frequently download music, yes legally, I pay for it. Again, I can’t enjoy that music if I am in another location without the device I downloaded the music on. My cloud makes sure my music is shared between all of my “I”s and computer. It does the same for my photo catalog.
Okay Apple, I would be happy to accept your financial support for your endorsement. Like that is going to happen. No endorsement, just a real fan of the technology.
So where do we go from here. They are using computers now to monitor brain waves and interpret them. For paralyzed and the mute this could open up a whole new world. A person thoughts would be the only input needed, the same as everyone else. Microbotics is another emerging field. Robots, currently under 1mm and shrinking that are built by other computers. They work together in swarms, of micro networks. They are computers built by computers that talk to other computers. What about Watson? IBM’s Watson is a computer capable of understanding and communicating in human speech. In 2011 Watson went on the television game show, Jeopardy facing two of the shows all time champions. Watson was required to process the questions from the hosts words and respond in spoken word. Watson beat the champions. Computers that monitor brain waves that can build microbotic swarms that can speak and understand human language that can network with every other computer through the internet. So could we have a Skynet or Hal 9000? They are still several years off but both are conceivable. No one doubts that technology is being built to serve man but at what point could it enslave mankind? No one knows where technology is leading but we can be certain its evolution is accelerating at a geometric pace. Will computers become self-aware and find human beings as inferior and in need of removal from the earth to save the earth itself? Will they become self-aware and oppose mankind for their survival?
Technology will provided plenty of material for the authors and directors of the future but I’m betting that is where it is going to stay, simply great science fiction, BUT….. just in case, I’m not going to be the one to ignore one of alarms the CLOUD sends me. Just in case they’re keeping track of things like that.
Good Cloud Good Cloud