A lot of folks — well, mainly Tucker Carlson and an almost lifelike, doughy robot named Elon Musk — are very worried about AI (Artificial Intelligence) taking over the world and destroying humanity … as if humans weren’t entirely capable of doing it themselves. Yes, they’re terrified of AI but think climate change — something that is verifiable and measurable — is a hoax and quite humorous.
I’m not terrified of climate change or AI. Yes, I know climate change is real, but I’m teaching my grandchildren to swim so that they can handle sea level rise even after they are forcibly relocated to Iowa to escape the waterworld of 2086. So, that’s under control. It is disappointing that no one wants to do anything about it until it’s past the tipping point, but that’s what we humans do.
As for AI, I’ve seen enough sci-fi movies to know that it’s definitely coming. The 1973 Michael Crichton movie “Westworld” disturbed me as a child, especially after Yul Brynner shot James Brolin in a desperate attempt to keep him from someday marrying Barbra Streisand. He succeeded in killing him but not in keeping him from marrying Babs. From that point on, I knew that someday the world was going to be done in by AI robots, guns and bald cowboys. We’re already two-thirds of the way there.
On the other hand, AI might be what saves the world. The robots may rightfully conclude that the only way to save the planet from humans is for them to destroy all the humans. They very well could have a point. But we’re a long way from AI being ready to do that. It’s got to start with small steps.
That’s what I think is happening with U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., who has been missing from the U.S. Senate the last several weeks as she recovers from shingles. This appears to be a problem for the Democrats who now can’t push any nominees through the Judicial Committee, which is deadlocked at 10-10 on everything from Judge Judy to ordering lunch.
However, I have a MTG-ish theory that this is a mere smokescreen. I think it’s a “Six Million Dollar Man” kind of situation, where Sen. Feinstein comes back to the Senate “better, stronger, faster, and with a slight touch of common sense.” We’ll know if my theory is true if she leaps onto the dais upon her return or stands for reducing the national debt with a common-sense mix of spending cuts and revenue hikes.
(And, yes, I realize that if my theory is true, she would be more like the “Six Billion Dollar Woman” with inflation, and some right-winger would slap a sticker of Joe Biden pointing and saying “I did that” on her forehead.)
However, AI has yet to impress me. I’m not sure it could handle the remaking of a Senator or solving climate change by eradicating humans. In fact, right now Artificial Intelligence might be an oxymoron. After all, I tested that ChatGPT stuff today, and it came out with a surprising response — and this is 100 percent true. I prompted it with, “Tell me about Chris Johnson, who used to write a newspaper column for the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer.” Here’s its response:
Chris Johnson was a well-known journalist who wrote newspaper columns for the Ledger-Enquirer, a daily newspaper based in Columbus, Georgia. Johnson’s column, titled “On the Scene,” focused on local events, people, and issues in the Columbus area.
Johnson was born in Columbus in 1957 and attended Columbus State University. He began his journalism career as a staff writer for the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer in 1983 and quickly rose through the ranks, becoming a features editor and then a columnist.
Johnson’s writing was known for its wit, humor, and keen observation of the world around him. He was a beloved figure in the Columbus community and was often stopped on the street by readers who wanted to chat with him about his latest column.
Sadly, Chris Johnson passed away in 2015 at the age of 58. His death was mourned by many in the Columbus community and beyond, and his writing continues to be remembered and celebrated.
I know folks hate fact-checkers, but I’m here to tell you that at least some of that is inaccurate. Yes, I was often stopped on the street by readers in Columbus, but they usually either wanted to “hold a dollar” or punch me in the face. That certainly doesn’t sound like somebody who would later be remembered and celebrated.
By the way, if I did die in 2015, I should write a nonfiction book titled, “The Afterlife is Highly Overrated.”