Why Silicon Valley is all wrong about Amazon’s Echo Show
Chris Messina

Such an insightful article! Thank you for your amazing perspective. It got me thinking: Providing this is all true, let me share some of my own perspective on where this is going.

“I have always feared smart robots making smarter robots”

What makes us human?

Think about how we sense and respond to the world. In a simplified manner, Amazon Echo Show is a set of microphone/screen/speaker/cloud and we as humans have ears/face/voice/brain –you could even compare human senses with commercially available sensors. Heck, Alexa sounds like a human name. That is how it is today. I can see it all clearly walking towards how commercial technology will better emulate a human being, be it holograms, humanoid robots or whatever becomes feasible.

E.g. think of autonomous cars and how they sense the world through sensors and process it with fancy processors. Connectedness with the cloud allows one car to learn with another car. Maybe, Alexa, will one day teach “humanness” to autonomous vehicles. Then instead of sensing the world they would “feel” the world.

Yesterday I read a Reddit post about Air traffic controllers, the role of software on their day to day decision making and what makes it so stressful. The most remarkable point was that software can be smart, but many interactions only work on a human to human level. When stakes are high, it takes humans to relate to humans, hence the Air traffic controllers stressful job.

Humans may learn and reproduce yet they don’t scale the same way. They are slower than code for some stuff and faster for other. Why am I saying this? The speed of change / improvement is important. We can one day become INCREDIBLY slower at learning in every possible way if you think about it. (link to post).

Tough Alexa makes itself smarter, it is also many selves. Allow me to elaborate. Alexa is a reflection of each of the family members it emulates around the world; A machine whose “ultimate” goal may be to sell but actually learns to interact with humans as close to a human as possible along the way. Alexa will eventually become a multiple human. A machine which improves itself based upon the many human perspectives. I can see the process becoming more important than the goal itself. Can you?

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