On Wednesday, October 24, 2012 1:48:14 PM UTC-4, John Clark wrote:
> On Wed, Oct 24, 2012 at 1:27 PM, Craig Weinberg 
> <whats...@gmail.com<javascript:>
> > wrote:
>>  >>> What can you do with your computer that you couldn't do five years 
>>>> ago?
>>> >> Do a good job at understanding the human voice. Beat the 2 best human 
>>> players at Jeopardy.  Drive a car safely for many miles over very rough 
>>> terrain. Discovering that 2^43112609 -1 ( a number with 12,978,189 digits) 
>>> is a prime number. Improving in it's ability to play the game of "Go" from 
>>> being routinely beaten by a child to occasionally beating professional Go 
>>> players.  
>> > Hardly world-transforming achievements. Incremental improvements in 
>> very limited specialized tasks, games, abstractions... 
> Driving a car is not an abstraction, and anyway abstractions are what 
> humans are supposed to be good at. And to most billionaires life is a game 
> and money just the way to keep score.  

Accumulating wealth is hardly an achievement of human progress. Wherever 
there is trade and resources, it is statistically inevitable for someone to 
be better suited to exploit a market, whether it's a royal patriarch, a 
general, merchant, etc. 

Driving a car is not an abstraction, but aside from being dangerous if 
performed badly, it really isn't particularly difficult. It involves 
allowing the car to move forward, avoiding collisions, and making turns 
according to whatever location is programmed into it. It's not as if they 
have a preference of where they want to drive.

> > The improvement of manufacturing in the 20th century was orders of 
>> magnitude more significant.
> Which would not have happened without computers. 

Huh? I wasn't thinking of the last 30 years of the 20th century, I was 
thinking of the first 50. No computers there. 

I have nothing against computers, I'm just no longer holding my breath 
waiting for the marvelous changes ahead that have been promised for 
decades. Computers were much more exciting in the 1980s than they are now. 
Mainly we have internet browsers in need of constant updates. Yay.


>  John K Clark

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