The Word on the Week

Artificial Intelligence

We have heard a lot about Artificial Intelligence this week as practical uses of appear on the market. The popular idea that a robot will do the housework etc. however, may be some way off!
It is interesting how these robots have been personalised by their designer giving them names. We are invited to learn some new computer program by listening to Cortana. The idea being that we will engage better with a humanised robot than one with a heartless metallic voice.
It’s when they start to beat you at your favourite game that it becomes a little hard to take! Fortunately, their inventor has thought of this and given you a scale of difficulty so you can set it a bit lower to ensure a win!
Then there is the smart home created by Amazon or Google. It may be operated by voice control when you are in the house or remotely by cell phone when you are away. The problems that it solves today are simple like switching on the heating but tomorrow who knows …perhaps it will do the housework!
Outside the home there is the driverless car. It is reckoned to be safer that having a human in control. But if no-one is behind the wheel who pays in the event of an accident? The manufacturer? The owner?
What about Skype’s simultaneous speech translation? Of course someone has to program the thing but given the tools one day perhaps the robot may do a real-time voice translation by itself. Babel reversed and the foreign missionary’s dream, of mastering the language, fulfilled!
Clothing outlets complain that customers try on the garments in their shop then go home and buy the same garment cheaper on-line. Soon they will not need to go to the shop if the Japanese firm Zozo has anything to do with it. The firm has created a body scanning suit called the Zozosuit. By photographing themselves wearing the skin-tight polka-dot Zozosuit, users can upload their body measurements to ensure a perfect fit for the clothes they order., which has been making an aggressive push into online apparel, last year bought Body Labs, a 3-D body-scanning start-up that lets people create a digital avatar of themselves to try on virtual clothes. One future problem could be with shops becoming redundant and the workplace inhabited by robots there may be no demand for clothes as there would be nowhere to wear them!
On the less frivolous side artificial intelligence is being used to create autonomous weapons. Future wars could be fought by robots, programmed to think for themselves and set loose on the enemy. The resultant chaos would make science fiction films a reality.
Jesus takes us back to basics. He tells us through St John that the world is in the control of the evil one (1 John chapter 5 verse 19) and that in it we will have trouble but everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world – our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world? Only the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God (verses 4/5).