Big Rowan Ackison (greensh) wrote,
Big Rowan Ackison

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Illogical Computer Progression

It is an irony that I am watching Matrix Reloaded while writing about the abilities of computers. I spend most of my work day focused on programming databases and the front ends that are used to access them. Data collection and analysis that used to take a half a day, or couldn't ever be done, now only takes minutes. I have automated systems that do mind-numbing number crunching all day and then run complex data warehousing routines at night. This is amazing stuff but it also pales in the face of human creativity.

I recently wrote about how the original Terminator movie was solidly a classic because it had a great story and remained faithful to science fiction. A reality was presented that was possible within the realm of possible, parallel future. While the second and third Terminator movies are commendable in depth of psychological exploration, the science was more fantasy than fiction. Why do I make this harsh evaluation? Isn't the science of tomorrow the fantasy and magic of today? Yes, but here is my gripe. The science advances present in the sequels represent leaps of technology not possible by even the smartest computers and this is the failing of those movies.

Computers are amazing tools for processing vast quantities of data. Analysis can be rapidly performed using predefined rules and constraints. The fancy outcome for this is business intelligence systems, or BI systems. I really enjoy programming data warehouse and business intelligence systems. It is feels so amazingly creative to transform raw data into a discrete and powerful analysis. The results can be as mystical as paintings or sculpture. That said, there is a difference between insightful results and some kind of evolution based on the same data. A computer can out think a person but it cannot out create a person. The creativity I feel while programming is my own. My computers are tools while I am the creator.

I cannot see how a computer system could make the leaps of technology shown in Terminator 2 and Terminator 3. The foundational technology shown in T1 was impressive, but it was not clearly a precursor to that of the later terminators. Could the machines have made the leaps? I don't think so. Such advances would take an intuitive creativity that saw beyond even the most complex business intelligence equations. A mountain of data would not be enough to make the molehill of advance when when the leap is not already defined for the computers.

These thoughts skirt a larger issue, that of mimicry of human forms and thoughts by machines. This is the AI side. I have some opinions on this as well, but I will save those for another time. The one thing I can say is that mimicry does not lead to advancement. The first Terminator was a reinforced copy of a human designed for infiltration. This rational does not seem to extend to his sequels. T2 and T3 could have looked like anything as they seemed to be more designed for killing. In fact, the T3 was very inhuman when she transformed her arms into the "big guns". T2 was inhuman when he transformed into a floor. The Terminator progression does not make sense even from the angle of progression of mimicry.

Side thought... the communal dance at the beginning of Matrix Reloaded was incredibly pagan. I don't know if it proved that the people of Zion were ready to take on the machines, but boy did it prove the people knew how to party. This is not something that machines cannot do. Ahhh... (smile!)
Tags: computers, progress, progression, technology

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