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Computer and Society - 2 -

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1 Computer and Society - 2 -
Present and Future

2 Impact of Computer and AI Present and Future
Ray Kurzweil, “The Impact On ...”, from the book “The Intelligent Machines”, 1990. We look at what Kurzweil predicted in 1990, what have come to true, and what is coming to true, what is not yet, and what may not be forever. Our critiques and discussions.

3 Organization of Slides
In the order of topics in the article: employment, education, communication, warfare, medicine, the handicapped, music, politics, ourselves. For each topic: Authors ideas, marked with ‘Kurzweil’, My critiques, marked with ‘Critiques’, Our discussions, marked with ‘Discussions’.

4 Topic 1. Employment and Economy

5 Kurzweil Employment - revisit Few areas generate as much controversy as computer’s influence on employment. This issue is rarely approached dispassionately. The reality of lost jobs is easier to see than the possibility of new jobs created.

6 Kurzweil IEA Study IEA study – A comprehensive study of the trends of US economy at Institute for Economic Analysis (IEA)

7 What IEA Study Said (1) Avg. earning power of workers was to increase;
Kurzweil What IEA Study Said (1) Avg. earning power of workers was to increase; A rapidly diminishing demand for clerical workers and unskilled workers; A sharp increase in needs for professionals, computer specialists, and teachers.

8 Kurzweil What IEA Study Said (2) The primary variable for continued growth was education and training. Power and wealth will increasingly consist of knowledge and skill.

9 Critiques IEA Study was Done in 1990 IEA study was a comprehensive study using a detailed computer model of economy. Quality of such study depends on model, factors considered, and data. I doubt some factors such as outsourcing, rise of Chinese economy were taken into account.

10 Kurzweil Factory Dwindling Factories now employ substantially fewer workers than before, due to automation and computerization. Computerized manufacturing enables more customization of products. Before 1st industrial revolution, products were ‘customized’. With 1st industrial revolution, products became ‘standardized’. Now, products are coming back to ‘customized’.

11 Kurzweil Who is to do What In 21st century, computers and humans are going to share the jobs in offices: For computers: Type our letters and reports, maintain our files and records, help organize our work. For human: Communication, teaching, learning, selling , strategic-decision making, and innovation.

12 Change of Concept of Documents
Kurzweil Change of Concept of Documents Documents on paper are to diminish, which will be replaced by multimedia documents. Documents include linkages to underlying knowledge and related information. Documents are organized in a way that each part can be directly accessed.

13 Are Multimedia Books Better?
Critiques Are Multimedia Books Better? It looks to be a dream of the author that the future documents are composed of text, pictures, voice, music, ... (p.428) Is a multimedia book inherently better than a book of plain text? Is a movie version of a novel, by it nature, better than the novel itself?

14 Learning as Part of Work
Kurzweil Learning as Part of Work The primary skill required for future workers will be ability to adapt. A typical worker of this century will make a major or a career change once or twice each decade. Learning as part of work, as some enlightened companies have started doing.

15 Knowledge and Learning Capability
Discussion Knowledge and Learning Capability To adapt to the dynamic technology: Higher institutions should provide not only knowledge but also tools of problem solving, and ways of thinking. Students in colleges should enrich their knowledge as well as their ability of learning. Meat or hunting rifle. Fish or fishnet.

16 Are we really afraid of ‘losing jobs’?
Discussion Are we really afraid of ‘losing jobs’? We share a dread: - losing jobs, or unemployed. We love working, don’t we? No one has dreamed of working in the Heaven. We never worry about ‘unemployment’ in Heaven, since ... we never expect to work in Heaven!

17 Becoming Philosophers or Indulging in Making Love
Discussion Becoming Philosophers or Indulging in Making Love The two quotes on page 425. If machines could be so improved and multiplied, then all of our corporeal necessities could be entirely gratified, without the intervention of human labor, there will be nothing to hinder all mankind from becoming philosophers and poets. - Timothy Walker, 1831 Machinery will perform all work – automata will direct all activities and the only tasks of the human race will be to make love, study and be happy. - The United State Review, 1853 Would we be more likely, by our nature, becoming philosophers or indulging in making love if we were truly worry-free?

18 Topic 2. Education p

19 Education in Computer Revolution
Kurzweil Education in Computer Revolution Education plays a pivotal role in shaping the future economy, as in Topic 1. But we have seen fewer changes in schools than in factories, in terms of content and process, in this computing age.

20 Eight Predictions in 1990 (1)
Kurzweil Eight Predictions in 1990 (1) Computers are ubiquitous as pencils to students; Students’ computers are portable laptops; Very high resolution screen as readable as a book; Of a variety of input devices;

21 Eight Predictions in 1990 (2)
Kurzweil Eight Predictions in 1990 (2) Of high quality two-way voice communication and natural language understanding; Very easy to use; Interactive intelligent and entertaining courseware; Wireless connection to network.

22 Intelligent Courseware
Kurzweil Intelligent Courseware It identifies the model that a student is using or the student’s weakness; It develops strategy to upgrade the student’s model; It provides entertaining and engaging experiences to carry out the remedial strategy.

23 Using Computer Network
Kurzweil Using Computer Network Allow easy sharing of courseware, submissions by students of papers and exams, s, ... Have access to libraries of the world, - books, magazines, databases; Using intelligent software assistants to help find information. (search engines as we call them now)

24 Envision Teaching after 2050
Kurzweil Envision Teaching after 2050 A homework might be to participate in the Constitutional Convention of 1787 and debate the founding fathers. Another homework might be to negotiate the final language on behalf of the executive branch to get a better deal for the presidency on war powers. Your submission would be the actual debates that you participated in, and your teacher would grade them on watching them.

25 How Much Could Intelligent Machine Help Education? (1)
Critiques How Much Could Intelligent Machine Help Education? (1) Kurzweil’s vision of ‘on-line’, vivid, two-way multimedia teaching in future is interesting, and will help study. Could it help in all subjects? In the subjects it helps, how much it might help?

26 How Much Could Intelligent Machine Help Education? (2)
Critiques How Much Could Intelligent Machine Help Education? (2) Kursweil’s vision of future seems not quite helpful in learning algebra, calculus, quantitative decision making, ... On subject of history, his vision seems helps most. But do you think students’ knowledge of history is now better with helps of TV, movie, and computer, than that 100 years ago when learnt purely from books?

27 On-Line Course In 1990, on-line course was not born yet. Advantages:
Discussion On-Line Course In 1990, on-line course was not born yet. Advantages: Disadvantages: What courses might be most suitable to be taught on-line?

28 On-Line Course to Prevail?
Discussion On-Line Course to Prevail? Not all courses could be effectively taught on-line. More on-line classes will be seen. Whether a college to put a class on-line is based on multiple considerations, other than most effective teaching. Whether a student to take a on-line class is based on multiple considerations, other than most effective learning.

29 What Is a College Like in Future?
Discussion What Is a College Like in Future? Who is teaching – human professors or intelligent machines? Do students have to go to ‘school’? Are all courses on-line? Is a physical college necessary? If all courses were on-line and taught by machines, then what would be difference between colleges? - No more colleges and universities?

30 Topic 3. Communication p

31 Functions of Communication
Kurzweil Functions of Communication A mental need of a human is communication, which grants its physiological and psychological function. The social function of communication is sharing knowledge and carrying knowledge on.

32 Computers and Network Kurzweil’s expectation for 2010:
Computers and computer networks are gateways for communication. (Internet) Intelligent software to help access and search information. (search engines) Standardized software on each end of a communication channel. (MS Explorer, Netscape, HTML language)

33 ‘Where to find knowledge’
Critiques ‘Where to find knowledge’ Kurzweil’s expectation for 2010 in 1990 has largely come true. For ‘where to find knowledge’, we have search engines like Yahoos!, Google, AltaVista. More intelligent guider has appeared, - “I know what knowledge you want. Come with me.”

34 Kurzweil Paper as a Medium Paper will still be a medium in communication of man-man or man-machine. Electronic documents has not caused reduction of paper use. US has used 2,500 billion pages in 1986, while only 850 billion pages in That is because ... ... increase of productivity of producing paper documents.

35 Videophone We have almost accomplished it. Need to improve:
Kurzweil Videophone We have almost accomplished it. Need to improve: Image quality; Video, not only pictures; Popularization.

36 Robotic Person Imitator (RPI)
Kurzweil Robotic Person Imitator (RPI) It is a robotic substitute of a human, with same look and feel. It acts and moves exactly the same way as the real person thousands miles away. So, meeting a person does not have to be a ‘personal’ meeting. It could be a ‘person-imitator’ or ‘imitator-imitator’ meeting.

37 Critiques RPI, Realistic? It is can described as a lifelike sensor and actuator being remotely controlled. It is not an independent robot that acts on its own ‘will’. One person can technically have many ‘imitators’. So, ... Laws on murdering, raping, robbery, harassment, privacy, ..., must be updated with RPI.

38 Nature of Cities What was initial purpose of a city?
Kurzweil Nature of Cities What was initial purpose of a city? Facilitating manufacturing and transportation. What is purpose of a city after highways and railways have made it unnecessary to live in the manufacturing / transportation center? Communication. When we can communicate and ‘meet’ anyone without leaving home, the need for a city diminishes.

39 Critiques Humans Need City Functions of a city that failed to mention by Kurzweil: Social, entertainment, businesses, politics / government. Do humans by their nature tend to live close by or alone? Does a human feel comfortable staying home year by year, talking to outside with phones and s, and sending his imitator to meet friends and attend socials who are likely also imitators?

40 Gratification of Information Will Level off
Critiques Gratification of Information Will Level off The feel of gratification for the amount of available information will level off when the amount of information available reaches certain digestible point. Similar rules occur on air, water, food, clothes, ... “The more information available, the better.” – Is it true?

41 Topic 4. Warfare p

42 Smart Weapon A primary thrust of computing on warfare is smart weapon.
Kurzweil Smart Weapon A primary thrust of computing on warfare is smart weapon. Auto-piloting and pattern-recognition have resulted in accurate destruction of targets without damage to neighboring civilian population and facilities.

43 Defense Strategy with Smart Weapon
Kurzweil Defense Strategy with Smart Weapon Smart weapon can be used tactically to won a war, and strategically to deter the enemy. First line of defense: Conventional weapons with intelligence. Second line of defense: Nuclear weapons.

44 Kurzweil Combat in Future Between smart flying weapons, missiles, robot planes, and flying munitions, that can be launched from virtually any place on earth or from space; as well as laser weapons and particle beam weapons. Cornerstones of combats: Command, Control, Communication

45 Geography Factor Fades Out
Kurzweil Geography Factor Fades Out Geography is losing its strategic importance. Slow moving vehicles as tanks and ships, and battle stations, no matter land-, sea-, air-, or space- based, will be vulnerable.

46 Critiques War Is not a Video Game Kurzweil’s vision of future war is like a video game. A war will be bloody and dirty, and never be as clean as a video game. death, misery, cruelty, brutality, barbarity will be the reality. In addition to smart weapons, there are WMDs: nuclear weapons, chemical and bio-chemical weapons, ...

47 Rule of Minimum Morality
Critiques Rule of Minimum Morality In a game or conflict without rules and referees, the rule of minimum morality prevails: The cleanness of the game is determined by the dirtier side. Prisoner’s dilemma - Conflict of two societies, of two ideologies,, of two countries are similar. To avoid the degeneration of civilization and going back to barbarism, rules and referees (or police) are required on this planet. The referee should be strong and a role model. US had played this role well after WWII, especially after the fall of Soviet Union, working with United Nations. US and UN had the potential to set up gradually international order and rule of game. But after 9-11, US gave up the role of judge, referee, and role model, and jump into the battle field. It is distressing. After the 1990 first Gulf War, US’s police role has been reinforced, which showed, and accepted by most countries, that if any country violates the rule set up by UN, it will be punished. But 9-11 made US lost its temper and gave up the accomplishment that had taken 56 years to establish. During the first Gulf War in 1990, US acted as an international policeman, fair and strict, to deal with the conflict between Iraq and Kuwait. But on 9-11, when ‘someone’ ‘beat’ the policeman, US ignored its responsibility of 50 years to the world, returned teeth with teeth, blood with blood. US showed no respect to the international law and rules that were established with America’s 50 year’s endeavors. Now, no one in this world, even American themselves, view US as a qualified international police and role model. No one now in this world is good enough and strong enough to carry on the job of judge and referee. It is not impossible that the world goes back to the dark age of no law, no rule, no judge, no referee, and no police, and the world goes back to the match of competing immorality, barbarianism, and brutality.

48 Kurzweil War in Future If human reflexes and eventually human decision making, at least on a tactical level, are replaced with machine intelligence, then two societies could let their machine fight out the conflict in some remote place and let them know who wins.

49 Abolition of War, - By What?
Critiques Abolition of War, - By What? It is not computing technology that will change human’s brute war to a video or sport game. It is human’s civilization, fraternity, equality, and respect for value of life that will eventually bury the war forever.

50 Topic 5. Medicine p

51 Predictions for Early 21st Century (1)
Kurzweil Predictions for Early 21st Century (1) Blood tests will be analyzed by cybernetic technicians; Electrocardiograms will be analyzed entirely by computer; Diagnosis will be reliant on all kinds of non-invasive imaging, such as sonic and particle-resonance;

52 Predictions for Early 21st Century (2)
Kurzweil Predictions for Early 21st Century (2) National data bank of patients; Expert systems will influence all diagnostic and treatment decisions; Computers are widely used in new medicine design and development; Heart disease and cancer are likely to be conquered.

53 Kurzweil Smart Drug This drug will be actual living cells with a measure of intelligence, which will be smart enough to identify an enemy pathogen and destroy or pacify it; to self-destruct after completing the mission.

54 Kurzweil What Doctors Do Then? With machines playing crucial role in routine medical activities, doctors will do: Research and organizing of medical knowledge to enrich expert systems; Strategic medical decision making; Reviewing diagnostic recommendations in complicated cases.

55 Doctors without Experience?
Critiques Doctors without Experience? If doctors do not have practice and experience on diagnosis and treatment, how could they come up with new knowledge to enrich the expert systems? Medicine is a subject that needs practice and experience. Medicine is not pure math.

56 Topic 6. The Handicapped p

57 How Will Computing Help the Handicapped
Kurzweil How Will Computing Help the Handicapped Reading machine for the blind, Navigational aids for the blind, Seeing machine for the blind, Speech-to-text aids for the deaf, Hearing machine for the deaf, Artificial limbs with intelligence for the paraplegics and quadriplegics. Reading machine: - Pocket-sized devices that can instantly scan not only pages of text but also signs and symbols found in the real worlk. Seeing machine: - I would be like a friend that could describe what is going on in the visible world. The blind could ask the device to elaborate on a description, or he could ask it questions. The visual sensors of such a device could be built into a pair of eyeglasses, although is may be just as well to pin it on the user’s lapel. Hearing machine: - It can display what people are saying. Intelligent hearing machine should be able to translate or describe auditory information other than speech, such as music and natural sounds, into other modalities such as vision and touch.

58 Topic 7. Music p

59 How Will Computing Change Music
Kurzweil How Will Computing Change Music New instruments; New sounds without direct acoustic and instrumental counterpart. Composing: - sequencer to get the performance effect and music notations at same time. Live music performance; Composition assistant software: - Notes from Gary: New sounds that never heard before. 2. Software for helping composing, - Chunk 3. Software for cybernetic performance, - orchestrating performance on Internet Computing is making art and music not the luxury and privilege of some ‘elite’, but an entertainment that can be enjoyed by ordinary people.

60 Computing Makes Music Popular
Discussion Computing Makes Music Popular Computer has made art and music appeal for both the more and the less cultured. Ordinary people can be artists and musicians. Art and music no longer belong to those people with leisure. Computing reduced “music divide”

61 Computing Changes Entertainment
Discussion Computing Changes Entertainment Music used to be played in churches, royal palaces, and theatres of upper class. Composers and music players were few elites in society. There were no concert with thousands of audience.

62 Topic 8. Politics p

63 Cornerstones of Power Used to be: They are shifting to:
Kurzweil Cornerstones of Power Used to be: Land, Geography, Natural resources, Labor. They are shifting to: Technology, Human intellectual resources.

64 Tech Replaces Natural Resource for Cornerstone of Power
Kurzweil Tech Replaces Natural Resource for Cornerstone of Power “The cornerstones of power during the 1st industrial revolution – Geography, natural resources, and manual labor – are rapidly diminishing in importance and relevance.” – p.445 “We can only conclude that the strategic variables controlling our future are becoming technology and, in particular, the human intellectual resources to advance technology.” – p.446 Kursweil’s supports for the assertion is that “we are entering a world in which wealth can be beamed across the world by satellite, smart weapons can reach their destinations from thousands of miles away, and some of the most powerful technologies in history require only tiny amounts of material resources and electricity”. Critiques: The ultimate goal of politics is power or ‘control’, - which can be in ideology, religion, economy, and society infrastructure. Being able to reach through satellite beams and smart weapons is not equivalent to ‘control’ in ideology, religion, economy, and society infrastructure. Moreover, even the new technology may not require as many nature resources as the manufacturing technology did in the first industrial revolution, natural resources are still required increasingly since manufacturing industry is not dying with advent of computing, which is needed to make more physical products, such as cars, houses, TVs, refrigerators, washers and dryers, for the people getting richer. Per Kurzweil, natural resources are only required for developing new technology. If the new technology does not need much materials, then human being stops requiring natural resources. Think the world that we have only material silicon and computer, without house, cars, gasoline, airplanes, ships, … Requirement for natural resources will not diminishing. Instead, it will increase. Kurzweil assertion does not have a solid scientific, economical, and logical ground. The history from 1990 to 2005 has proved the incorrectness of the assertion.

65 Scarce Natural Resources Will Remain Scarce
Critiques Scarce Natural Resources Will Remain Scarce Although computer does not need scarce natural resources, people in the computer age need them. Oil, natural gas, iron/steel, food, ... The resources are more scarce since people are getting richer due to computing technology, and the richers need more.

66 Land and Labor Still Matter
Critiques Land and Labor Still Matter Labors will be needed as before, albeit the type of labors is changing from blue collar workers to white collar professionals. Land, which carries scarce resources, needed professionals, and infrastructures, will remain a cornerstone of power.

67 Technology Adds to Cornerstones
Critiques Technology Adds to Cornerstones Technology just adds to the traditional cornerstones of power, rather than replace them.

68 Computing Would Imperil Controlled Society
Kurzweil Computing Would Imperil Controlled Society Creativity and innovation cannot be forced. Unstoppable computer networks provide a platform for free speech, promote free communication, and encourage the open society. Controlled societies are at stake.

69 Computing May Help Totalitarian Government
Kurzweil Computing May Help Totalitarian Government Computers play today an indispensable role in legitimate law enforcement. A dictator can use it equally. Computer technology can help build an efficient and effective totalitarian control.

70 Creativity Is Not Forced  No Creativity in a Forced Society
Critiques Creativity Is Not Forced  No Creativity in a Forced Society “It is a fortunate truth of human nature that creativity and innovation cannot be forced.” Be alert not to be misled by the above statement that there is not creativity in a highly controlled society. Germany in WWII, Soviet Union, China Scientists in Germany WWII, Soviet Union, and China were or are very creative within a highly controlled society. They could not freely express their ideas, they did not have freedom of speech and freedom of press. Were (are) they ‘forced’ to create and innovate? We may say they were (are) forced to be willing to enthusiastically create and innovate.

71 How It Influences Society Depends on Who Controls It
Critiques How It Influences Society Depends on Who Controls It The last paragraph of this topic on p.447: Computer technology may lead to a flowering of individual expression, creativity, and communication or to an era of efficient and effective totalitarian control. It will all depend on who controls the technology. A hopeful note is that the nature of wealth and power in the age of intelligent machines will encourage the open society. Oppressive societies will find it hard to provide the economic incentives needed to pay for computers and their development. It is true that it depends on who controls the technology. Oppressive government will have political incentive for computer development at any cost!

72 Computing Is Not Omnipotent
Critiques Computing Is Not Omnipotent Although computing by its nature encourages an open society, its effects on ending totalitarianism should not be exaggerated. Computing is just a tool. Computing is not an omnipotent drug to get freedom and democracy prevailing. The first quote on p.445 is arrogantly optimistic about computing.

73 Topic 9. Our Concept of Ourselves

74 Intelligent Computers Are Beginning to Accomplish
Kurzweil Intelligent Computers Are Beginning to Accomplish Musical performances; Teaching some skills and knowledge; Diagnosing and remedial treatment; Designing drugs; Performing medical operations; Locating underground resources; Flying planes.

75 More Difficult Tasks Reading books;
Kurzweil More Difficult Tasks Reading books; Understanding the contents of a book; Passing the Turing test.

76 Kurzweil Most Difficult Tasks Watch a moving scene and understand what is going on; Imitating humans’ subtlety; Pass the Turing test with face-to-face communication.

77 Human vs. Machine Intelligence
Kurzweil Human vs. Machine Intelligence Human Machine Computing speed Slow Fast Size of memory Large Larger Reliability of memory Dubious Accurate and Reliable Capability of thinking Good Poor Improved in past 50 years? No Yes, dramatically Will improve in next 50 years? Not likely. Very likely and dramatically

78 Kurzweil Are We Unique? We may not be the smartest species in the universe forever, simply because we can create a ‘species’ that is smarter than us. Maybe we will fail and go back to appreciate the inherent value of being unique human.

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