We live in a world that is knee deep in information. Just walking to the supermarket in our village would add a few details to the log of my mobile phone’s activity.
Well, it would if I carried it about. Information of this kind can never be perfect, and that is on account of the nature of the computer itself. A computer can’t do anything without being told to do it – this can come from another machine, but that machine will have had to be programmed. There’s a problem with programming that I’ll address at another date; suffice it to say that the programmers act out of their comfort zones. What they see is all they can see. This post will take a look at a different angle of what people want that satisfies their comfort zone. That is to say, what people want to see, where the reality is a whole lot simpler.
Well, it’s been all over the news. The inferno that engulfed a tower block was on the front pages from Bild Zeitung to The Times Of India. I’ve read several interesting posts regarding this incident and one brought me a snippet of news that really made me realize what a parlous state the British economy is in today.
Bill40 spoke of how the costs saved on the renovation job was £5,000. And he put this in bold numbers because the sum was so tiny. I know five grand is a lot to many people, but in terms of building, it’s the equivalent of one euro cent. That is to say, you can’t buy anything with that kind of money.
Not in building renovation, at least. The scaffolding for that job would have cost in excess of £30,000. Five grand is peanuts.
It was a good few years ago now that the council dug a tunnel under the motorway and railway to allow cyclists a quicker route from the north of our village to the south. This reduced my journey from over a kilometre to one that is a lot less. My allotment is within 300m of my home, it’s just that there’s a double track railway and a six lane highway in that space along with a minor road. Not the kind of thing one wants to cross on a dark night, even if it were possible what with all the barriers they’ve put up. Thus a tunnel was a welcome addition to our village.
Occasionally I share something from a blogger who is truly remarkable. The way she looks at things is something that each and every one of us can learn from. This time, it’s the way she describes her friend’s eyes.
It’s not a problem for the Dutch alone, but when it comes to walking their dogs, it’s usually a case of the dog walking the Dutch. When a dog’s pulling at the lead, the dog is telling the walker that the dog is boss. It’s not very helpful in a world where the busy road next to them has cars travelling at 60km/h (40mph). Oh, and it’s a 30km/h zone… but again, that’s not something limited to the Dutch alone. But these are problems we’ve created for ourselves.
I was in conversation with a wannabe biochemist a few days ago. I say ‘wannabe’ because the gentleman in question is a retired electrical engineer. Well, you can imagine he knows a lot about electrons and a lot less about biochemistry.
There’s a lot of talk about Artificial intelligence, only I feel that the people who are trying to forward this notion don’t really know how our brains work – and they certainly don’t know how a computer does its job. But that’s modern life for you: they are paid lots of money to make silly suggestions and I’m not.
It’s said that goldfish lead exciting lives. This is because in their small world, practically everything’s new. By the time they’ve toured their bowl, they’ve forgotten what was there, and it’s all exciting and fresh again! It must be quite wonderful to be able to spend your waking hours in the pursuit of such discoveries. The trouble is that the goldfish’s powers of retention aren’t very strong, and whilst everything’s fresh and new, that’s only because they’ve forgotten what was there fifteen seconds ago.
It was with this thought in mind that I switched on my computer this morning and I thought I would interview it, to give you an idea of the life of an ordinary, everyday Laptop.
Me: “Good morning, computer.
My Laptop: “Yer sees now: I’s gotta do all this processin’ like, just to speak to yer. Right? Coz, like I can’t do anyfin wivvout wot someone’s gone and programmed it, like, There thassanuvver billion done”