Friday, February 18, 2011

Watson, The Dawn Of A New Age?

Just a couple of days ago, Watson, an IBM Computer took part in Jeopardy, a quiz show that asks questions using metaphors, puns, wordplay and allusions.

Watson beat the competition hands down, you can watch the episodes from Jeopardy on Youtube below:

Watson's Jeopardy Episodes.

When they announced that the next use for Watson would be in the field of medicine, trying to determine the answers to problems from voluminous amounts of information, I couldn't help but think of the Emergency Medical Program from Star Trek's Voyager TV Show.

Will this program revolutionize our search for answers, leaving humankind to do more important things like being creative and loving one another?

For now, I can't wait to hear a computer program greet me with "Please state the nature of your medical emergency."

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

He's A Good Person

Sometimes, when I read about people who get convicted of a crime, there's often a kind of testimony from the wife or boss or someone close who didn't know his crime and testifies that he's a good person.

But I wonder what is good?

He's good because he helped you in further your self-interests or appeared to share your values he. A murderer or rapist can be perfectly good to his neighbours and even his wife as long as he serves their self-interests and does not reveal his darker side publicly.

So what is "good" is merely service of your self-interests.

So what is "good"? Is it more than just serving everyone's needs? What about thoughts? If I have bad thoughts, you name it, but not act them out am I still "good"?

Can we separate intent from the action? Are they independent of one another?

If through no intent of mine someone dies or gets hurt, am I still good? Or bad? What about carelessness? If I left the car running and it accidentally rolls off a cliff I am foolish. But if it rolls off a cliff and smashes into someone below, I am negligent and may even be jailed.

So the same person could have had the same action and thoughts but suffer wildly different consequences. Is he any "more good" or "more evil" in one circumstance or the other?

Or is goodness or badness also a combination of consequences?

Intent, Action and Consequences. Is that one way of measuring goodness? Who is really good in this world?

Is the person who plots to murder someone but does not act on it less evil than one who kills another in an act of blind passion?