Posts Tagged singularity

Singularity

SINGULARITY

Men are getting dumber. If you are 30 years and younger you might not even understand what that statement means. If you did, you might not agree and a percentage of people in that age bracket will close this page before reading this sentence. But men are actually getting dumber. We live in the age of hashtags and passable grammatical blunders. Not long ago, if I write ‘Do I no you’, the other person will probably reply with a ‘What?’. These days, I’ve seen all manner. People writing ‘were’ instead of ‘where’, ‘see’ is now ‘c’, ‘ppl’ is actually ‘people’; then it gets weird ‘fams’ is ‘family’, ‘pops’ is ‘Daddy’, ‘pregs’, ‘preggo’, ‘prexy’, ‘cray’, ‘cuda wuda shuda’; the list goes on and on. Twitter, the 140 character social network didn’t help. Sometimes when confronted, people say they are trying to get their tweet into 140 ‘chars’. The same person can then write ‘prexident’ one week later, and it’s style.

English language and it’s usage is not the only thing that is suffering, people can no longer do simple mathematics without a calculator. Growing up, calculator wasn’t allowed in the examination hall, not until I started my tertiary education. If I get a penny for every time someone has given me more change than necessary, I’ll be a millionaire*. You can try it out. Buy something for 360 or 370 and give the store attendant 500, or something for 730 and above up till 770, give the clerk 1000 and see if you get the correct change. But I grew up in an age where my first mathematics teacher were my parents.

The show – ‘Who wants to be a millionaire’ was once very popular with franchises all over the world, today that show is being gradually replaced in popularity by dance competitions and the likes. These days we can afford to pay more for entertainment than we can afford to pay for education, just look at the humongous and unreasonable wages of footballers compared to the tokens we pay our teachers and say I am wrong. There was once something called JETS competition (Junior Engineers, Technicians and Scientists), winning a prize at any level of that competition was once a dream. These days, what we have is ‘The Principals Cup’ and the likes of them. Secondary Schools used to have Literary and Debating days; these days? They’ll rather organise a show and host D’banj (no disrespect to D’Banj).

I remembered our teachers can not afford to make mistakes in class. Before I started my Tertiary Education, I have read Programming in Pascal (by Schaums) not more than twice back to back, and solved at least 50% of the problems in the book. Teachers who don’t know what they teach like the back of their hands are usually objects of ridicule by the students and are soon posted away from the school; pay a visit to a school today and hear the teachers teach, you’ll think you are in hell.

So now you get the point I am trying to make, we are actually getting dumber.

Computers are getting smarter. This one is a no brainer. Head to apple.com and see what their new smart watch can do. Watch Ted videos on their youtube channel. Follow technology news (the real ones, not the ones on BI and TechCrunch) like ycombinator and you will come to one conclusion, computers, maybe not yet more intelligent than the average human, but they are getting smarter and faster too.

The first time I had an argument with someone about Singularity, it was 2008, fast forward 6 years and all the things I said then are coming to pass gradually, definitely a fridge that can order milk from amazon when you are low on milk, or a TV that can auto-renew your cable subscription is not YET mainstream, but who says it won’t in a year or two? So imagine this scenario, your fridge orders milk from amazon, amazon delivers the milk using one of their drones and a robot house help takes the order and stock your fridge. All you know is you have milk. Another scenario, you are wearing a smart watch that constantly sends data to your doctor, your doctor then sends a message back to the watch saying, stay off red meat for a month, your watch is connected of course to your fridge, who refuses to order meat from amazon when you are low on supplies. All you know is you don’t have meat. While these scenarios looked a bit crazy, come back in 2020.

So believe me, Singularity will happen. Maybe not like Von Neuman envisaged it in 1958, maybe not a doomsday prophesy like the current proponents want us to believe, but at a point, in the near future, computers will refer to us humans as Garbage In Garbage Out.

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