Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Anticipating Our Needs


At the heart of much speculative fiction (and fiction in general) is a question. What if? On Tuesdays I like to throw one out there and see what you make of it. Do with it as you please. If a for-instance is not specified, feel free to interpret that instance as you wish. And if you find this becomes a novel-length answer, all I ask is a thank you in the acknowledgements.

I got a new cell phone for Christmas. When I text, it gives me three choices of possible words as I start typing. The first choices were "Yes", "No", and "Talk later?" Now, they've become "I", "The", and "I'm". And I went to type "yes" and "yeah" appeared. It's learning my idiosyncrasies. I think.

I don't know if this is a good thing or not.

What if future computers (cell phones, devices) learned us well enough to anticipate our needs? Like, what if the fridge knew when to order groceries (and what to order)? What would that be like? How might that make things go wrong?

12 comments:

  1. It may order something which someone other than me likes and stores in the fridge!

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  2. I could see my fridge ordering green peppers when I out. But maybe I'm sick of green peppers now. WTH am I gonna do with all these green peppers now?

    Ha. I could make a short story out of vegetables alone.

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  3. You know--that actually is likely to happen in the future...and not as far off as you think.

    http://www.nbcnews.com/id/50364798/ns/technology_and_science-tech_and_gadgets/t/lg-smart-fridge-spots-spoiled-food-orders-groceries/

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    Replies
    1. I figure it's not far off at all. Which is where the question came from.

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  4. Stephanie already mentioned the smart fridge, so I guess the future is here already. I'm a technology fan so I can't really think of a downside. They're trying to make self-driving cars--no accidents! No worrying about traffic! I can't wait :)

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  5. This happens with voice recognition with the type of work I do with medical transcription. The doctor dictates, the voice recognition program 'transcribes" it and then I have to go over what it did and listen to it against the actual doctor's dictation and make changes from what the doctor said versus what it "transcribed." Supposedly over time the software is supposed to recognize what the doctor says and it is supposed to make corrections easier, however, there are times the software anticipates what the doctor might say and puts in a totally different phrase from what he did say. If a person who is editing it is not paying attention, they can not catch it and make the correction and it can compromise patient care. Scary.

    betty

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  6. Truthfully? I'm thinking about moving to the country, becoming a hermit, and living off the land. (I totally see an episode of Terminator on this future's horizon. ;)

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  7. I love the possibilities of computers taking over the world. They make for great sci-fi movies/reads. I can see how your phone's auto correct can be downright funny! I've LOLed at some of the word choices my phone comes up with:)

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    Replies
    1. It makes you wonder who taught the machines English. Then remember it had to be us.

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  8. In some ways that would be cool especially if it could tell you when food is past its prime. I wonder if they gave the fridge an attitude then it would be scary especially if it oinks at you when you pull out something wonderfully decadent or tells you to eat more veggies

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  9. I love the way my phone does it and I can think of lots of practical applications. Like a computer that tells you the exact time to leave for work in the morning so you miss the traffic and get every green light.

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    Replies
    1. My computer would then start ticking at me when I'd run late. As I invariably do.

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