“Welcome, Robot Overlords. Please Don’t Fire Us”

Catchy headline (2013).  (article here)  The magic date is 2025 when “they” can build a computer with the processing power of the human brain. Scared?  Well, our brain is a learning machine and so far the attempt to get computers to learn has not gone so well. NYU professor Michio Kaku put it in perspective, here. […]

Programs: For Me, For You, For All

I just read an interesting article, A Different Approach to Coding. One of the authors, Mitchel Resnick (MIT Media Lab), is one of the inventors of Scratch, a universally used graphical programming language.  Their thesis is that coding is a new form of literacy. BTW, Last December’s, Hour of Code, used Scratch and some other graphical approaches to […]

“Of course he can walk. Thank God he doesn’t have to!”

That was the caption on a satirical cover of New York Magazine (1970) showing a teenager in a wheelchair being pushed by a bejeweled woman with a very large mansion in the background. Rephrase: “Why learn to write if I don’t plan on being a professional writer?” — more relevant, here, “Why learn about computers, programming, robotics, coding, etc. […]

Robotics: What’s Happening (better: happened)

Check out Amazon’s Robots , 19 most important in 2015 and Merry Christmas. There are videos at the bottom of the first two links. Amazing, but I think that we’re now just at the “Model T” stage.  The advances that we’ll see will be stunning — and will impact our lives in unimaginable ways. Remember the maze solving crow?  Could a […]

Errors, Side Effects and Unintended Consequences

Pretty broad subjects.  Difficult, too. in that they are largely unknowable. (If you knew there was an error, you would have fixed it!) Can a program be error free? Probably not. (Old joke: The only error-free program is one that is not used).  However, if you make a programming product that other folks use, you […]

“Learn Brain Surgery in 2 Weeks — It’s Not That Hard”

Well, I made that up — I did not actually find that headline. However, I see a lot of the, “Learn ‘X’ in 2 weeks”, where ‘X’ is almost anything, French, Python, Java, cellphone apps, etc.  Folks sign up, go through the process and are happy that they can “speak some words”.  Possibly, even do something […]