intelligence is better than no intelligence at all
by Mad Dog
The movie is
about a robot that’s so intelligent it can feel emotions. And no,
it’s not the Al Gore story.
that Steven Spielberg’s movie A.I. is out, people everywhere
are asking themselves, “Don’t we have better things to do with
eight bucks than buy a movie ticket, then blow another twelve on
popcorn, soda, and NoDoz so we can stay awake and enjoy ourselves?”
They’re also asking about the possibility of artificial
intelligence, which is what A.I. stands for. Yes, in the great
tradition of E.T., ER, and SeaQuest DSV,
Spielberg has once again opted for initials. You’d think with his
budget he could afford to buy a few more vowels from Pat Sajak.
The movie is about a robot
that’s so intelligent it can feel emotions. And no, it’s not the
Al Gore story. This robot is a boy model, one that luckily doesn’t
speak with an Austrian accent as other movie robots have been known to
do. He lives, learns, and has his heart broken when he realizes he can
never fit in because no one else uses WD-40 as deodorant. Just
kidding. Actually Al Gore does.
The very idea that a machine
could think and feel is fascinating. Imagine an elevator smart enough
to not just tell you what’s on the floor you’re about to stop at,
but to ask, “Are you sure you want to go through with this divorce?
You seem a bit conflicted about it. Do you still have issues? Maybe
you should see Dr. Shaken in suite 422 instead of that second-rate
lawyer you have an appointment with. Hey, don’t look at me like
that. My cousin keeps that shyster’s schedule and tells me
them felt emotion, as is obvious if you listen to HAL, who if he had
half the brains the movie wants you to think he does would sue Ben
Stein for stealing both his voice and personality.
Or how about
a computer that can sense when you’re about to boil over because
Windows is crashing for the 47th time today so it immediately launches
an anger management program, reminding you that every time you lose
your temper it costs money because you have to buy a new monitor. Or
golf club. Or both if you used the golf club on the monitor. Hey, a
machine with a sense of self-preservation would be a wonderful thing.
For the machine, anyway.
concept of artificial intelligence is nothing new. HAL, the computer
in 2001: A Space Odyssey, had lots of it. The robot on Lost
in Space had A.I. too, though not nearly as much. Actually he was
about a half-step above Lassie. While Lassie would run and get help
when Jeff found himself stuck in the bottom of an abandoned well
because he thought it would be a cool place to hide and look up the
little girl’s skirts as they walked by, that was completely
reactive. The robot, being an enlightened model, was pro-active. He
could spot trouble before it happened, shouting out, “The door is
ajar, Will Robinson! The door is ajar!” Yes, unlike the child actors
he worked with, the robot went on to have a career after the show was
cancelled, landing a lucrative contract making voice recordings for GM
course neither of them felt emotion, as is obvious if you listen to
HAL, who if he had half the brains the movie wants you to think he
does would sue Ben Stein for stealing both his voice and personality.
But before a machine can have emotion it needs intelligence, yet how
can they have intelligence when people can’t even agree on what that
If they get their way and the trend continues, before
you know it South Dakota will be known as South, Wyoming will become
Why?, and New Mexico will change its name to Mexico.
Basically, there are three types of intelligence: the kind
measured by an IQ test, emotional intelligence, and that which you
demonstrate by not getting into discussions about this in the first
place. Albert Einstein was definitely intelligent. Bill Clinton was
intelligent. Not smart, but intelligent. Marilyn vos Savant on the
other hand, who claims to have the world’s highest IQ, isn’t as
intelligent as she’d like you to believe, otherwise she’d be doing
something a little more constructive than solving goofy brain teasers
in Parade every Sunday.
there’s artificial intelligence. While it doesn’t yet exist in
machines, it does in humans. Take President Bush. His intelligence is
definitely artificial. After all, it comes from an outside
source—Dick Cheney. And how about the brain trust at the Greater
North Dakota Association (motto: “Greater than what?”) which wants
to change the state’s name to Dakota. They figure that if Cher,
Britney, Madonna, and Barbie’s boyfriend Ken can all go by one name
then their state should too. If they get their way and the trend
continues, before you know it South Dakota will be known as South,
Wyoming will become Why?, and New Mexico will change its name to
Mexico, which will really confuse the ten percent of high school
students who don’t already think it’s a foreign country.
know artificial intelligence is a bona fide trend when dictionaries
recognize it. The new edition of the Oxford English Dictionary (motto:
“So many words; so few times to use most of them without sounding
like you have a stick up your butt.”) went ahead and added A.I.’s
secret password. That’s right, “doh!” is now a real word. (NOTE
TO SELF: Remember this for the next Scrabble game.) They define it as
“expressing frustration at the realization that things have turned
out badly or not as planned or that one has just said or done
something foolish.” You know, like making a movie about a boy robot
with emotions that sells fewer tickets in its second week of release
than one about talking cats and dogs. Now that sounds like artificial
Mad Dog Productions, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
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