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Morning JAVA: A.I. My Eye!

Morning JAVA: A.I. My Eye!


Time to wake up with another cup of fresh coffee. The first thing on my mind this morning is A.I.. It seems to be everywhere now, this A.I., or artificial intelligence. It appears to have just popped up out of nowhere. It can be used to generate images, articles, write poetry and screenplays, draw magnificent artwork and even build structures / homes. Clearly, A.I. has many benefits but does is it really have the potential to become the dangerous futuristic 'Skynet' we're all familiar with from the Terminator movies?

The term 'artificial intelligence' is not new. In fact, the term has been around for several decades. When I was a teenager in the 80s, computers were just beginning to be introduced for home use. I remember my teachers explaining specifically that computers were (and still are) artificial intelligence that had already begun to revolutionize the world. Fast forward to today and it's all around, over and under us, literally.

My Brother-in-law, Ted was the first in my extended family to acquire a computer in 1984 at a cost of around $5,000. Ted was a successful draftsmen, drawing up plans by hand. With his new computer, Ted was also the first to use AutoCad. Yes, AutoCad has been around that long. Ted embraced this new technology and the software that came along with it. Ted embraced artificial intelligence because it made his job a lot easier.

Is that where it all started though? The answer is no. I've lived long enough now to be able to recollect all the incredible changes and advancements in A.I. during my lifetime right up to today (Re: Apple's crazy headsets). I remember when the first digital calculators were sold. They had not LED (light emitting diode) but LCD (liquid crystal display) screens. This was an incredible leap forward for all mathematicians out there. Before personal computers became the norm, pretty much everyone had a digital calculator. Everyone with a calculator was using A.I. years before PCs became the norm.

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If you look at an old sci-fi movie from the 1960s, you might catch a glimpse of examples of early models of computers that used magnetic tape reels, spinning back and forth. Usually, these machines would occupy an entire room and incorporated large air flow tubes to keep the machines cool. This is where the term 'debugging' comes from. Every once in a while, they had to take these tubes apart and remove actual bugs that would make their way in there somehow. These early computers all utilized artificial intelligence.

Here's another great example of A.I. from the 1970s. Below is an image of my 1978 Seeburg Jukebox purchased from a seller on Kijiji for just $700 in 2010. This machine utilizes digital and analog technology. You can see that it has a small LCD display but all the moving parts are mechanical / analog.  Drop a quarter, choose your song by entering its three digit number and the jukebox will go to work picking out the correct single and setting it to play. No one has to physically find the record. The jukebox and its built in A.I. does it for you.

1978 Seeburg Jukebox

In 1980 (or was it 1981???), my parents gave me an LCD digital watch for Christmas. It was so cool. It not only told the time but It also had calculator buttons on it to do some math work and included a stop watch and alarm feature. This was brand new technology at the time. It was also artificial intelligence.

In the early 80s, there was an explosion of new technology and a lot of it related to entertainment. I recal the VHS / Betamax wars well. My Brother's Brother-in-law at the time bought a Betamax player and paid some $3,000 for it. Within 2 ears or so, it was worthless. The VHS tape player won the battle. With some of these machines, you could finally tape your favorite TV show or football game. All one had to do was program the player to turn on at a certain time and start recording from a certain TV station. This technology was using A.I..

In 1983, the first CD players came out and it revolutionized the music industry. Each player utilized A.I., especially those that had carousels with multiple CDs, the modern version of the jukebox, for home use.

Another example is the classic, programmable alarm clock. The earliest examples used rolodex style numbers before the LCD display came along. Any gadget that could be programmable could be considered A.I.. 

There's a lot of fear porn out there that A.I. is the greatest threat to humanity. I don't believe this to be true although I do believe A.I. can be used against us by other people. There was a Google engineer who recently stated that Google's A.I. had become sentient or aware of itself. Again, I don't believe this to be true. A computer program may appear to be sentient but is really just operating on sets on instructions from written code embedded into its programs. It's the people behind the programs that are sentient. 

Can A.I. be a threat? Absolutely, if it's programmed to be nefarious. Keyword: Programmed! In fact, Google's A.I. chatbot 'BARD' made a factual error right in its first demo! Yes, these bots will make shit up, factual or not. An article in Time magazine's website from a year ago states that 'BING's A.I. threatens users, no laughing matter'. CNN stated last June that '42% of CEOs sy that A.I. will destroy humanity in 5 to 10 years'. Don't you believe it!

Sure, A.I. is causing disruptions in the workforce, forcing people to learn new skills and keep up. Machines have replaced people on assembly lines but the PLC programmers are still there and they're making good money at it too. Change is normal and to be expected. Think of all the jobs at the turn of the last century that have all been eliminated because of emerging technology at the time. Think of the Milk Man, Elevator Operator, Lynotype Operator and 'Gandy Dancers' working on the railroad.

Yet another piece of A.I. that comes to mind is the gold ol' cash register. It used to be 100% analog / mechanical. They eventually morphed into full blown digital computers in their own right. Both versions are still in use today. With the advent of PCs, the cash register can now simply be a program on your home computer, connected to a cash box via software and hardwire connections. Pretty much every grocery store now uses them and they provide a nice, big LED screen so you can see all the products and pricing being entered in real time. Its A.I. calculates how much you'll owe with every item scanned.

Truth is, A.I. has been around all my life and while it brought about massive changes, there was no Earth wide destruction (Except in the movies) and humanity is still alive and well. In fact, using A.I. technology wisely has made some people phenomenally rich (think Bill Gates, although I do apologize for bringing his name up).

All this doom and gloom talk is just that, all talk. It can be gloomy for those who don't keep up and learn new skills but if you understand well enough, you could easily navigate your way through our ever changing world. If I managed to do it, so can you.

This is just the second post in a new series I've started called 'Morning JAVA'. In the morning, I'll usually sip on a couple cups of coffee as I write a post. This morning's topic, A.I. is a hot one. If ever A.I. gets out of hand, all we have to do is turn the power off. Without electricity, A.I. is dead in the water!

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Peace and love to everyone.

 

Coffee drinkers love Morning JAVA! Follow my new series:

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Morning JAVA: Hiking with Kevin Nealon (Feb. 16, 2024)

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Morning JAVA: A.I. My EYE! (Feb. 14, 2024)

Morning JAVA: It's official. Bitcoin hits $50K! (Feb. 13, 2024 Inaugural post)

 

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SweptOverNiagara
SweptOverNiagara

Name's Joe and I live in Ontario, Canada. I like writing on a wide variety of topics. I enjoy keeping track of markets, investing and commodities and the crypto sector. Also do some coding for web browsers.


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