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Showing posts from June, 2018

Stop Scaring the Kids!

Of two approaches to design—1) reacting to the urgent and 2) responding to the important—this is about the second: Please stop anthropomorphizing plumbing systems! Frankly, you’re scaring the kids! We need to talk. Computer systems are plumbing systems for electrons and photons, similar in behavior as plumbing systems are for water and waste. During my training to become a guided missile technician in the Navy I was told to use my understanding of plumbing systems to understand the more complex electronic systems I would be working with. It worked. Both systems were logical following the laws of physics. I was soon trouble shooting, fixing and maintaining complex electronic systems that at first had appeared to be incomprehensible. ‘Artificial intelligence’ systems, like plumbing systems, have proven to be immensely useful in the lives of human beings. Despite the ever-growing hype around artificial intelligence systems—AI—these systems are not sentient. They are actuall