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Walking From The Chocolate Shop

Walking From The Chocolate Shop

Hello and good day!

I've listened to interviews with two experts on artificial intelligence over the last couple of days.

Each seemed perfectly competent and knowledgeable.

Each had strong convictions.

And each predicted an exact opposite future from the other.

One felt that human intelligence would imminently be overtaken and far surpassed by machines.

The other stressed that while the latest round of AI technology is impressive, computers are in no way about to develop human-level intelligence.

Both addressed the fact that most of the recent technological advancements are the result of what are called large language models.

I feel that I have a decent grasp of how this works, but to keep it simple and brief, let's just say that computers can now consume and analyze the internet.

This means that computers can rapidly process text, video, and image data.

They can read, look, and watch at a tremendously fast rate.

And computers are now set up such that they can make connections between data and learn to mimic what they have seen.

As more computers are added to the network, processing speed will increase, complexity of connections and insight and cross referencing will grow exponentially, and the sophistication of mimicry will continue to improve.

In many cases, computers will surpass the ability of those they are now aping.

This is the argument for how computers will soon leave human beings behind.

But the fellow who says that computers are nowhere near achieving human level intelligence, and probably never will, says that most people are miscomprehending the nature of intelligence.

Simply put, he thinks that words, photos, and videos, the stuff of the internet, hold very little true intelligence.

He argues that true intelligence, defined as knowledge that can be acted upon in the physical environment to improve your sense of wellbeing, is obtained through sensory organs and must be carried out by your body.

In short, real intelligence resides in your body and you need a body to be intelligent.

No body. No practical intelligence.

He pointed out that most communication is non-verbal, expressed through body language and facial cues.

I can say the words "I am happy", but my face might tell a completely different story.

Intelligence would recognize the discrepancy and you need eyes in order to see.

Both points of view are interesting, and I must admit that I am not smart enough or experienced enough to know who is right, or whether the correct answer lays somewhere in the middle.

But here is what I do know.

Today is Wednesday and on Wednesday evening, my wife closes our chocolate shop and I spend the evening with my three sons.

Here in our little town of Issaquah, WA there are three locations that I tend to bounce between.

Our kitchen, which is also a shop, our office, and our retail location are all within about a half a mile of each other.

I prefer to leave my car parked near one and walk to the others.

That way I get the old ticker pumping and I can breathe some of the lovely mountain and tree filtered fresh air that we have in western Washington.

On Wednesdays, I usually leave my car at the office and walk to the kitchen.

After checking in there, I walk to the shop.

Around 5pm, my wife comes with fresh products from the kitchen to restock and I help her unload the car.

She takes over at the shop and the kids go with me.

Since I have usually left my car back at the office, the four of us make the half mile walk together to get the car so that we can drive home.

It is twilight by that time and the sky has dimmed.

The city is surrounded by mountains and the tall evergreens in the hills look dark at that time of day.

We walk out of our shopping center and cross a busy street.

My youngest, our five-year-old, likes to push the button that turns on the flashing yellow lights that signal to drivers that we are ready to cross.

We wave at cars as we cross the crosswalk and the waiting drivers wave back at us. We cut through a center with a grocery store, a discount mattress outlet, and a Ross.

Around the corner, we cut back behind the center where we can see employees on smoke breaks sitting on plastic crates, cardboard boxes broken down and laid out flat in piles, dumpsters, loading docks, and abandoned shopping carts.

The used bookstore is right there, and we take a shortcut through it.

A used bookstore is a place where me and my boys can spend a fair amount of time.

They sit on the floor with a pile of books, and I wander the shelves, hoping to find a surprise gem.

If I am in a good mood, I'll let them lobby me for one book each.

Outside of the book shop the sky is now dark.

We cross a big black asphalt parking lot to the pharmacy.

After the pharmacy is the Indian food restaurant, then the liquor store run by the heavyset man with the grey beard and the tall turban.

While I walk, my boys run and shove and laugh and yell in front of me.

I shout at them to be careful and not run so fast, but they ignore me.

We pass by the well-lit Hallmark store with stuffed animals in the window and my boys press their noses up against the glass to look.

Then we walk by the gold and rare coin store where Kyle works.

Kyle used to be my co-worker a very long time ago.

He always waves at us from inside the warm light of his shop.

We cross another dark and busy street where the cross walk is hard to see, and cars don't stop until right at the last moment to let us cross.

The boys play tag down the road, to the office center.

We climb into my car, which is warm.

Two sons ride in back and one in front with me.

My oldest son likes to work the radio.

Wednesday is movie night for the kids, after they clean the house.

If I was able to find something good at the bookshop, I might just lay on the couch and read for a little before washing the dishes and sweeping.

 I love walking from the chocolate shop on Wednesday nights.

It is one of my favorite windows of time all week.

I can't imagine what could make it any better.

It is perfect as it is.

Technology or artificial intelligence could only mess it up.

Some of the best things in life don't require very much intelligence at all.

You just need enough sense to not mess with a good thing.

Thank you so much for your time today.

I hope that you have a truly blessed day!


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