The other day I bought a new Apple iPhone 6S. Its remarkable camera and interface were an instant joy, making content gathering for Improvised Life easier and more fun. But as long as I’d been using iPhones, I’d never spoken to Siri, Apple’s attempt at Artificial Intelligence. Before I’d fully set up the phone and had lain down for a nap, I ask Siri what the weather was. When he answered Sorry, Sally, there’s no weather info, I got annoyed and asked WHY NOT? I couldn’t believe what Siri said.
You see things, and you say, ‘Why?’ But I dream things that never were, and I say, ‘Why not?’
Some smartass programmer at Apple was anticipating a smartass like me. But how did they get my particular brand of smartass: my love of the question WHY NOT? and dreaming things that never were.
I googled Siri’s powerful words. They were written by George Bernard Shaw in his 1921 play
Curiously, just the day before at my new favorite magazine, Kid’s, Code and Computer Science, Tim Slavin asks the BIG question:
Computers can be programmed to make intelligent decisions. Does that make a computer intelligent?