I blogged at LITA Blog for Jason Griffey’s interview of science fiction author and futurist Vernor Vinge during American Library Association Midwinter Conference in San Diego. Congratulations to LITA for identifying a good speaker and putting together a really interesting and thought provoking session!
The program explored the depths of human thinking capabilities and how this thinking power continues to be augmented and in some cases even rendered unecessary by machines. It was interesting in the wake of this session to see the high profile announcement that IBM’s mainframe Watson did actually win vs. the two top Jeopardy Champions Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter, just like Deep Blue had played some mean chess against Kasparov back in 1997. It is hard to conceive that any machine could replicate the full power of human reasoning, creativity and ingenuity, even as technology is evolving at such a rapid pace, but who knows what the future brings?
The real mindbender was Jason Griffey’s question directed to Vernor Vinge near the end of the session. Could he envision that maybe machines would reach the point of matching and even outstripping the power of human thinking and we might not even know it or perceive it?