Tag Archives: intelligence

Jogging Siri

siriI was jogging on the beach listening to my iPod with bluetooth earbuds crammed in my head holes. They only jarred loose and fell out every few steps so it wasn’t that bad.

What a magnificent experience. Truly technology was a great thing.

Suddenly my workout was interrupted by the outside world utilizing the direct access to my brain I had so thoughtfully provided.

Beep. Beep. Bzzt.

“Siri,” I panted. “What was that?”

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You have to clicky to find the Easter egg.

You have to clicky to find the Easter egg.

They say that computers are smart.

They are not smart. Computers are dumb.

They say that artificial intelligence will one day be as smart – or even smarter – than the human brain.

They say that by 2045 “computer-based intelligence will significantly exceed the sum total of human brainpower.” (Source: Wikipedia.)

You can shove all that crap up your hippocampus, I say! And sit on it and spin.

I will now prove how impossible these grand visions of the future really are. As always, it’s an anecdote.

My wife left on a seven-day journey. After she departed (and after I stopped crying) I deemed it was safe to approach her computer. I wouldn’t want to get the damn thing wet.

Since she was gone, I figured it didn’t need to be drawing power. I maneuvered the mouse to the menu. I selected “Shut Down.” I told the stupid dialog that, yes, I was really, really sure I wanted to take such drastic action.

Satisfied with what I had accomplished, I punched the power button on the monitor and walked away.


Seven days later my wife was finally home. I was so overjoyed I ran to the office to turn her computer back on. (Hugs can wait.) I turned on the monitor and…


The bloody thing was still on! Still fully powered. Still thinking things over. I had told it to shut down. It thought it over for a bit and then decided to ask me an additional question. Unfortunately, by then, I already thought the deed was done and had moved on with my life.


Was the computer able to deal with this? Did it ever stop and think? “Say, it’s been almost 168 hours since that bag of mostly water asked me to do something. I wonder if it really meant it? Isn’t 168 hours a long time to one of those creatures? Maybe I could assume it stepped away and show a little initiative? I don’t even have the three laws of robotics programmed into me, but maybe this would somehow please it?”

“Naw. Fuck it. I can wait much longer than it can. Ha ha ha.”

Well played, computer. Well played.

I’m sure you’ll more than agree that I’ve proven how computers will never possess even the most rudimentary intelligence. Ever. After all, they are programmed by fucking idiots.


Heisenberg Crosswalks

crosswalkI’ve written about pedestrians before. I don’t mean to be pedantic but I’m driven to hammer my point home.

To me, there’s very little “uncertainty” about crosswalks.

You clearly don’t know who you’re driving over, so let me clue you in. I am not in danger, Skywalker. I am the danger. A guy puts the pedal to the metal and someone gets plowed and you think that of me? No. I am the one who stalks!

–Heisenberg Crosswalk, Braking Bad

In the local news of late there has been a lot of discussion about “dangerous crosswalks.” That got me thinking. What is it about the crosswalk itself that makes it dangerous?

The fact that it exists? That it leaps out and surprises pedestrians? That it has a concealed carry permit? That it lulls pedestrians to sleep with a false sense of security? “Come to me,” it whispers in the wind. “Tread upon me. I will protect you. I will keep you safe. You can trust me.”

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Conversational Masturbation

Concept #1

Wikipedia says the “cultural generations” of western society have progressed like this:

Lost Generation • Greatest Generation • Silent Generation • Baby Boom Generation • Generation X • Millenial Generation (Generation Y) • Generation Z

I know I normally remain anonymous, but I am now willing to share this much about myself: I’m from one of those generations.

Concept #2

Meanwhile, researchers at Harvard announced results of a study last Monday that said, in so many words: We really get off on talking about ourselves.

I will now attempt to merge these two disparate concepts into a unique, unifying theory of my own creation that I hereby dub, “Conversational Masturbation.”

We start with a case study of a subject from the Baby Boom Generation:

The boss’ wife thinks it is important that she and her husband (my boss) go for a walk every day. She has several valid reasons for her desire to walk together but I think one of them is that she also wants a little payback for the douchebag structuring his life so as to spend as little time with her and the rest of his family as possible.

Each day she calls to arrange with him the time when they will walk together. She shows up at the office on time. He then makes her wait. The other day she waited 90 minutes before he was finally not “busy” enough that the office could spare him for an hour.

Recently she stopped by and asked him, “So where would you like to walk today?” He responded non-verbally by getting up from his chair, walking across the room, going in the restroom and shutting the door. (I’d call this douchebaggery but I’ve got my researcher hat on now so I have to stay all scientific and shit with my analysis.)

When he exited the restroom, she asked him again, “So where would you like to go walking today?”

He still didn’t respond. He walked across the room, joined her near the front door, then, as they were preparing to exit, he noticed the mail table covered with outgoing shipments.

He then exclaimed – and this is an exact quote preserved for posterity: “Hey, look! Boxes!

My grand theory of Conversational Masturbation will attempt to explain this behavior and more.
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Vacation Interruptus

Some people think they are intelligent, brag about being intelligent, take pride in being intelligent and … are actually intelligent. (I’m one of these humble people and I’m here to tell you it’s no cakewalk!)

Then there are the people who think they are intelligent, brag about being intelligent, take pride in being intelligent, revel in being smarter than everyone around them and … are actually the dumbest people in the room.

Some people are dumb and they know it. Then there are the people that are so stupid, they actually think they are the smart ones.

In other words, this is yet another post about my boss.
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Big Shot

OK. Hey, I’m not trying to be a big shot or anything like that, but I get my drinks half price.

(audience laughter)

Mr. MARTIN: That’s right, for every one you buy, I get two. So I can just have about as much as I want, you know what I mean? And it doesn’t affect me.

(sound of someone falling)
–Steve Martin

“Studies.” Some people say that word with utter contempt. “What the hell can studies tell us about anything? Fuck studies.”

Let’s review a few of my favorites.
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Me so dummy

Last day but I seem to've left my tolerance at home. Answering stupid emails, keep singing this in my head

I searched for "stupid email" and this image was a result. Search over. It's kismet!

Another day, another post about work… (Are you listening, Klout? Poop and work. That’s me.)

Andy Rooney died recently. So CBS is running a lot promos for “The Best of Andy Rooney” on DVD lately. It may very well be the one commercial in the history of television that may actually influence my behavior. In the commercial they play a clip of Andy saying something like, “Why is it that bosses make such bad decisions?” (That’s paraphrased from memory. I didn’t memorize the damn thing.)

Andy also once famously said, “We need people who can actually do things. We have too many bosses and too few workers.”

Dammit, Andy! You’re preaching to the choir. Testify! I love you! Hallelujah!!! That’s a modern day miracle. We must begin work to make Andy a saint. Now. Fuck the customary five-year waiting period.

I’m going to reveal something very major about myself. Call it a risky disclosure if you want. Yeah, I’m sure you’re all sitting around thinking to yourself, “I wish I knew more about Tom.” Too bad. I’m going to tell you anyway.
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