Monday, February 21, 2011

Space aliens, supercomputers, and work

At the moment I am eating vegetable soup and listening to a story from All Things Considered about the noises that come from outer space. The scientist they're interviewing managed to translate the magnetism of stars into sound waves. He says that the sound waves that come from the stars change frequencies, and the most far-fetched explanation for this is that alien life forms are trying to communicate with us from their stars - this is crazy. Right now it just sounds like a humming noise. Thanks for all the fish!

I assume many of you are slightly concerned, as am I, by the computer's success on Jeopardy last week. Now that computers can do pretty much what our brains can do, even considering nuance, how long before computers take over the world altogether? In most ways, this sounds awful, and makes me picture some kind of very bleak techno-world where we all wear silver clothes and download our orders for the day onto our brain-chips from our computer bosses. I prefer people, thank you. I think machines should remain tools, and not take charge, thanks. IBM seems to disagree with me, since they spent so much effort trying to build this computer that is so humanesque.

Maybe though, if computers could be put in charge of some things, like fixing Somalia or something, they would do a better job than humans. They could factor in all the information in the world, and like weigh similarities and differences between other situations and then come up with the best solution. Maybe Watson could start there.

This is my third week at work, and things are starting to move faster. I'm looking forward to beginning my managing editor training, which starts this afternoon. Right now I'm doing copywriting training just so I know what goes on in the copywriters process (and b/c I will sometimes write copy) and I'm trying not to get stressed out by all the stuff they have to do before I learn the stuff I'll really be doing!

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