Re: Malevolence

Date view Thread view Subject view Author view

From: Tom Sweetnam (
Date: Fri May 12 2000 - 10:54:35 PDT

Robert S. Thau wrote:

> It sounds like some reporter was awfully confused.

No, I don't think so. I read that in The National Enquirer.

There is research
> in "affective computing" at the media lab, and robotics research in a
> similar spirit at the AI lab, both of which seek to build computer
> systems which detect the mood of the user and respond appropriately;
> however, no one at either lab would responsibly claim that computers
> or software have somehow evolved this capability without the knowledge
> of the people who build them. If they had, then quite a few Ph.D.
> students at both labs would have had to do a whole lot less work.

Right, I understand that what I've written here seems pretty ersatz stuff
for this audience, and was probably inspired to a degree by a phone
conversation last night with Doug Christiansen, a good friend and airline
captain out here in the west, whose anthropomorphic take on human/machine
interaction is pretty interesting....especially after you've just been hit
by lightning at 30,000 ft, and the turbulence is rattling your teeth, and
your wingtips are flapping in 30 foot arcs, and you have 190 terrified souls
onboard. Jet pilots believe in malevolent machinery, maybe that's why jets
are always females...and must be loved by those who fly them, rather than
being viewed with the pragmatic detachment of the ground-based engineer who
builds them. As to the broader hypothesis of my little screed, call it
superstition if you like, I call it intuition.

Date view Thread view Subject view Author view

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Fri May 12 2000 - 10:57:24 PDT