05 April 2011

Robbie and Anne


If I were my pre-adolescent Bill Collins and I was looking at Robby and Anne, as in this picture, I imagine Robby, who seems to be pointing, might be saying, "Danger Bill Collins, danger!" Anne looks comely and shapely. Ah, my adolescent fantasies intrude.
Robbie is the mechanical stiff, and Anne is in touch with her cognitive and emotional faculties sensing and feeling about her helpful companion.
Anne seems to be wondering, "What is it about Robby?" Robby is incapable of imagination. All Robby can do is to say, "danger." Well, at least, that's all I recall Robby saying; I'd have to watch the 1956 Forbidden Planet movie to recall other robot dialogue. His voice seems to have emotion; hey it's a movie.
Wikipedia says Robby displays "dry wit" and was instructed to "be helpful" to the starship crew. It senses danger, displays humor, and is nice. Dr. Morbius programmed Robby, to obey The Three Laws of Robotics as stipulated by Issac Asimov. It's a machine. It was programmed, as in, coded by a programmer, a human, like Anne, as in loaded with a fixed and known set of predetermined questions and answers.
Imagine Robby as the recent program to scan legal documents for known legal words, and their concepts, so to accurately identify and predict a legal document’s content. If Anne were an entry-level lawyer, bringing in a mid to high 5-figure salary, doing document review, she might now well wonder if her career was safe and if her 6-figure education was valuable. After all, humans get bored and humans make mistakes. Machines create efficiencies, efficiencies create productivity increases, and productivity increases build a bottom line. Hmmmm, but, what about the human capital?

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