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Machines March Toward Replacing Humans

Massey University

Credit: Massey University

 

When I read about this development by Massey University a few days ago, I was struck again–and impressed–with the intelligence of man and the great strides we are making with computers, while at the same time feeling some reservations about the capabilities of this program. Read it all carefully and let me know what you think.

The near-human performance of a virtual teacher called Eve created by Massey researchers has drawn the attention of scientists across the computing world. Eve is what is known in the information sciences as an intelligent or affective tutoring system that can adapt its response to the emotional state of people by interaction through a computer system.

The ability of virtual Eve to alter her presentation according to the reaction of the child facing her at the keyboard has been hailed as an exciting development in the $25 billion e-learning market.

Read the entire article here.

My reservations include:

1. My discomfort at a machine being able to read and respond to my emotions.

2. The lack of human contact that is spiraling in our computerized society.

I’m interested in hearing your thoughts.

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My devotional blog is here. 

By Shirley Buxton

Still full of life and ready to be on the move, Shirley at 81 years old feels blessed to have lots of energy and to be full of optimism. She was married to Jerry for 64 years, and grieves yet at his death in August of 2019. They have 4 children, 13 grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren...all beautiful and highly intelligent--of course. :)

13 replies on “Machines March Toward Replacing Humans”

Hello, Jordan. Welcome to my blog. Hope you visit here often.

I think you raise pertinent problems. We cannot get along without each other. You are so right.

Keep your head on straight, study and work hard. Keep our world headed in the right direction.

We’re depending on you.

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well im only 15 and were learning about all this in school and personally i think that if we give up are jobs to robots then yea people will wither away with out each other but think about it so will are economy that we’ve worked so hard for. i cant even imagine how life would be…

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Well, I see that why our world is going towards self destruction in terms of sustainable resources and energy, the best solution we as humans, can come up with is creating robots. Self-substituting ourselves. Children, life, emotions are unpredictable….that is what makes our species different from animals. I don’t think, a robot, even the most sophisticated one can cope with this fundamental aspect.

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Hello, Ron. Welcome to my blog.

There is no question that we humans need human contact…and you’re right, we die without it.

There is no doubt value in computer interaction–else we wouldn’t be talking, would we–but in my opinion it is short-sighted and unhealthy to believe such will replace human relationships.

I wish the best for you, and a swift settling of your family in your new locale.

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Wow. That rather scares me. I’m in this position right now where, as a pastor, I’ve just relocated to another state and have left my wife behind until the house sells. But I’ve also left my adult children and my only granddaughter. I’m living on the edge of one of the Great Lakes and every morning I wake up to this vast empty space with waves tossing in all directions. In other words, meaningful relationships are at low tide right now. (Nice of me not to mix my metaphor’s, huh?) I’m currently holding my laptop on my lap and you know what? She doesn’t attract me at all. Flesh and blood. Bone and marrow. Heart, spirit and soul. They cannot be replaced. Sometimes you have to find yourself very alone in order to have that truth take up residence in your deepest recesses.

In other words, I’m not worried about Eve. Human beings will wither without human contact. What I am concerned about are human beings that will SETTLE for animated companionship. That is something I find a bit frightening.

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Hello, everyone–

As are most of you, I’m ambivalent about this system. Certainly e-learning is handy and we probably will see more of it. As John stated, though, I really can’t see computers taking the place of humans for a very long time.

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I have mixed feelings.

For some factual things, like learning multiplication facts, the periodic table of elements or vocabulary words, this sounds fine. What’s “having a soul” got to do with that? It frees a teacher to do something that requires the human touch. And it records progress without prejudice – without “wishing a kid knew it” so believing he/she does.

For comprehension, however, it does lack a soul. The values and opinions of Eve are those of her programmers, which are not necessarily mine.
There is such value in the human touch. And a well-timed eye contact can make all the difference in the world.

Learning is emotional as well as factual.

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Sis. Buxton:
I remember reading “Space Odyssey,” with Hal the friendly computer, many years ago. I have really wondered just when we will see a quote, “Thinking Computer?’ I did not see it in our life time. Yet, who knows. Will yes, I do know Who knows. But there is so very much complexity within the human being. I find it hard to see or grasp a system built on or for logic. Being able to meet and deal with something that at many times is illogical. That is we humans.

Question?
Have you gotten your micro lens or are have you established it on your wish list.

Mervi

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Well, I have actually taken an E-Learning course before and basically it was able to read but not able to respond to my emotions. And the fact that it could pick up body language and facial expressions is actually kinda creepy.

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I wouldn’t be too alarmed. I’ve seen many articles like this that present a new “break through” in technology but the article will make it sound bigger and more impressive of an achievement than it really is.
I think that at most this could be a tool for E-Learning but it probably won’t be anyones favorite method of learning.
The field of Artificial Intelegence has been around for a long time now. And I’m sure it will be around for a lot longer before we see any machine that can even remotely compete with a human in a social context.

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My greatest reservation is that a machine lacks a soul, thus filtering programmed data into the hearts of innocent children. Another reservation is human contact as you mentioned. Our children need social graces which only come through togetherness. A machine would not afford them that precious commodity of the human touch/contact. Reality will be lost with machines. Your posting is a wake-up call for our God-given minds (and souls).

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