Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Columns

September 30, 2012

Vasicek: Meandering about the future

(Continued)

“We all dream of an easier life, so what if we got into our car and it knew where we wanted to go, or turned on a radio and it played the perfect music, or pressed ‘call’ on our phone and we would instantly be connected to the person we most wanted to talk to …

“That’s why I was so intrigued when I came across a new iPad app called MindMeld that is based on the emerging science of ‘anticipatory computing.’

“Using video and voice chat capabilities similar to Skype, MindMeld not only facilitates the discussion, but also adds pertinent photos or videos to the conversation as it interprets what is being said.

“… [I]f computers become more human-like in their thinking, adding our own emotional values to everything we think is important, the heartless machine-only qualities of these technologies will disappear, moving computers away from the paradigm of human-replacer to something more akin to human-enhancer.”

“Ed, isn’t that scary?”

“And how!” I responded. “Computers that ‘enhance’ our humanity by working according to our emotions? I always tell people they need to think with their mind and feel with their emotions. People already make poor decisions because they think with their emotions.”

Emil interrupted my oratorio. “Ed, minds are like muscles: If you don’t use them, they atrophy.”

I jumped back in: “Yep, but technology is unstoppable. The trick is to work around this. Maybe we should put the emphasis on teaching people how to exercise their minds and relate socially. After all, look at how the health-conscious crowd has begun to impact our eating habits.”

“Ed,” Emil replied, “I wonder why we seem to be of one mind.”

I smiled. I knew the answer to that one.

• Ed Vasicek is pastor of Highland Park Church and a weekly contributor to the Kokomo Tribune. Contact him at edvasicek@att.net.

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