Monday, 8 January 2018

What I want in 2018 is an AI SHRINK

What I want in 2018 is an AI SHRINK. Just think. Consulting and consolation on demand (panic attacks are infamous for striking at 3:00 AM). After the initial cost, no fees. And best of all. An AI Shrink would not nod off when I repeat myself for the umpteenth time like my human shrink did. When I asked him if he was falling asleep, he said, 'If I do, wake me up when you leave and put the money on the desk.'

This is how AI sees our studio (Deep Dream algorithm)
We had a pause for summer vacation. On the way to my next appointment, I was walking to the tram. A strong wind blew the tin roof, on a temporary structure and nearly decapitated me. A stranger, who saw what happen, came over and hugged me. When my shrink and I sat down, I told him what happened, and said, 'Did that wake you up?' He said, 'Well...' I asked 'Do you know I've been coming here for 17 years?' He said 'Now I'm awake,' and went and checked his records.

He retired. But we're still friends. Now we meet for lunch and he blabs too. He told me that anxiety was a worldwide illness. Even kids can't always cope with the hyper-connected digital age. The 12-year-old grandson of a friend came for a visit. One day, at breakfast, he put his hand on his head and elbow on the table and said, 'Grandma, I can't keep up. As soon as I learn a new system, it changes.' 

Lots of people give up trying. But that has a downside too. Now we have the next big jolt: Artificial Intelligence. When Erkki and I were working on 'GottaGETinTOUCH' we had the use a humanoid at the end. We found an eerie one interviewed by a scientist. She looked almost human but not quite. And the back half of her head exposed the wiring. She had a sing-songey pleasant voice. It was creepy. I heard her say, 'I could kill humans.' I freaked out.

Erkki told me this creepy feeling is called 'uncanny valley'. He explained that humans get this eerie feeling when the AI looks almost real but not quite. If the AI looks absolutely human we feel comfortable. EEEEEEKKK!

Sherry Turkle, author of 'Reclaiming Conversation' and media professor at MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), warns that the next big threat in the digital age is Artificial Intelligence. But heck, they're here. Why not program AIs to be 24/7 Shrinks? Mine would not be a humanoid. It would be a replica of Sam, my favorite German Shepherd. He knew me better than I knew myself. He knew when I needed a walk. When I need to sit quietly and meditate (better than the 'meditation' apps on your cell). Meals were always regular and nutritious. So was bedtime and wake-up time. Just the idea soothes my agitation.

Automated technologies are the stars at CES, one of the world's largest technology conventions, (Las Vegas 7/1/2018 – 12/2018). AI will guard your house and send an alert to your cellphone if someone breaks in, turn on the air-conditioner, unlock your front door. Come on all you techies, give us s a tool that will soothe our psyches. Happy in New Year.

Sources: New York Times, internet

Next week: The TALENT and their MINDERS

Maggy, meet Eliza, your shrink:

Eliza was one of the first AI programs, originally written in the 1960's. It was installed on one of the early Macintoshes my mom had when i was a kid, so i've chatted with it, even. You can tell that she's not real, after discussing a while though.

This said, AI is very cool, and on the verge of an explosion. The area i have been following most closely is using AI for image manipulation. It's going to be a huge deal. We're not far off from a situation where we tell the AI in plain words to "make a picture of a man playing ukulele on the beach, with a parrot on his shoulder", and the computer will spit out a photo that is just that. I could go on, there's a lot of unbelievable examples from the AI neural network research in the last year or two.

- Eki

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