thinkiesandthoughtiesQuestion 4: How would you feel if you discovered that a sad and compelling poem that affected you deeply was written by a computer?

Due Date: Friday, January 31.

Earlier in the week, this question reminded me of inventor and futurist Ray Kurzweil. I’d heard about his view on ‘singularity’ after watching the movie Her – basically, since our existence is made up of energy, why can’t we upload our consciousness to the Internet? We would no longer be bound by biological rules. We would be immortal because the energy creating information on the Internet is infinite. We already experience this via a fraction of its immensity through AI applications and virtual reality systems. We all like Siri, right?

What is truly fascinating and equally terrifying is Google. Let me put it this way: Kurzweil is the director of engineering at Google. Within 90 years, Google experts believe we will obtain ‘digital immortality’ by uploading and storing our brains and intelligence. We will choose our bodies and our environment. It’s a complicated subject to explain without plagiarizing everything I’ve researched, but you get the basic idea. And, what’s more concerning is that Google recently purchased buildings that are seemingly unused.

Do di do do, do di do do.

Anyway, when we talk about creativity and technology being the same thing, I think: of course it can. I’m not sure how technology can gain real consciousness since we’re still uncertain what consciousness really is, but that doesn’t mean emotion, inventiveness, and meaning are lost.

View Jennifer’s answer to Question 3

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Thinkies & Thoughties is inspired by The Book of Questions by Doctor Gregory Stock. Grab a cup of coffee — or something a little stronger — and sit down, open up, and share yourself every Friday.

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6 thoughts on “THINKIES & THOUGHTIES: Question 4

  1. I’m afraid if I found that out I’d feel betrayed. Sure, the emotions the poem draws out of me would be real, deep and powerful. I couldn’t deny them. But I would almost feel like I had been lied to.

    When a poem or prose moves me, it’s not only the written words, but I somehow feel connected to the writer, as if I’ve glimpsed a piece of their soul.

    To then find out there was no author, simply a cold machine, that would be like a slap in the face. And I can see the programmer sneering at us and the emotions he can’t experience himself. No, I wouldn’t like it at all.

  2. I wouldn’t think anything of it. As a reader, I tend to judge a piece of writing entirely by how it affects me. Where the writing comes from doesn’t matter in the slightest, save for if I’m just doing some fanboy homework. It would only mean as much to me as the reaction I got from my friends as I told them this little piece of trivia.

    1. If you focus too much on who produced the writing, your experience with the writing is biased and skewed. But, if you don’t focus enough on the writer, you may miss out on key points that enhance the piece. However, this enhancement isn’t entirely your own reaction, so I understand your feelings.

  3. I’m not an overly emotional person so if I found out something a computer wrote affected me that much I’d probably be impressed by the AI technology. I recently saw the film “Her,” about a man that falls in love with his AI computer operating system and it posed a lot of similarly interesting questions. Anything that can elicit genuine feelings and emotions is a valid art, no matter the form, no matter the creator.

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