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I Love My Computer

PH2009072401128.jpgIt was obviously a bad idea for Derek Thompson to write a post on his computer wondering whether robots were evil. The Computer, after all, is the pretty clear predecessor of the robot, and it didn't take any more kindly to Thompson's provocations than you might imagine.

For now, though, it appears that our computer-robots are simply overly sensitive, not evil. Thompson's computer crashed his post. That's almost playful. A few months ago, I mused aloud that I sort of wanted my computer to fail because the new MacBook Pros looked so appealing. Within a week, my heartbroken -- or simply overly helpful -- notebook committed suicide by shorting its own hard drive.

Here we've all been worrying that robots would turn out to be villains, but for the moment, they just seem sort of melodramatic.

Photo credit: AP Photo/Itsuo Inouye.

By Ezra Klein  |  July 27, 2009; 5:41 PM ET
 
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Comments

As I said there:
Clear the Firefox address bar (where the "http://www.washingtonpost.com" appears), or open a new tab, and type "about:robots" (no quotes).

Posted by: wiredog | July 27, 2009 5:47 PM | Report abuse

speaking of robots,
this is a completely heart-rending video by thomas mankovsky, called, "little big love,"
you wont want to miss this one.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8wQMIxm_Fmg&feature=PlayList&p=25F985A0AD73F173&playnext=1&playnext_from=PL&index=62

Posted by: jkaren | July 27, 2009 6:32 PM | Report abuse

Maybe that's what's going on with my poor laptop, Louise. All this time I thought she spitefully wanted to keep me from watching old episodes of "Lost", but really, she just wanted to bring me closer to a new MacBook.

Posted by: ewstephe | July 27, 2009 6:33 PM | Report abuse

well, somehow, my computer doesnt open the youtube to that video, with the link i provided!
(i am quite sure it is me though, and not my computer.)
but you wont want to miss it.
it is a very heart-rending, beautifully animated video about a little robot that falls in love with a tea kettle.
take a moment to see this!
on youtube....
thomas mankovsky "little big love"
i believe it is worth the time.

Posted by: jkaren | July 27, 2009 6:37 PM | Report abuse

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8wQMIxm_Fmg
i hope this works for the award-winning
"little big love."

Posted by: jkaren | July 27, 2009 6:40 PM | Report abuse

As long as human beings program computers they (the computers) will never be more intelligent or smarter than their programmers can imagine. But hey will be much much much faster. e.g. chess computers vs human chess players. If we make machines that have computers that have excellent human-like biomechanical chops and they eat us for breakast it will because they are using the brains i.e. software we supplied them. The dream of Mary Wollestonecraft (Godwin) Shelley I guess. But hey, I could be wrong. I'm only human not a computer.

Posted by: mickster1 | July 28, 2009 12:50 AM | Report abuse

Was it Marshall McCluhan that said "We shape our tools and afterwards our tools shape us."

Posted by: mickster1 | July 28, 2009 12:56 AM | Report abuse

"A few months ago, I mused aloud that I sort of wanted my computer to fail because the new MacBook Pros looked so appealing."

How heartless of you! Why didn't you simply retire the merited veteran, and give him a new, more relaxed role as a backup device, or something like that? Btw, usually it's no big problem to replace a failed hard drive, and it costs about 5% of a new MacBook Pro...

Hmm, ok, maybe I have a too personal relationship to my computers, but this leaves my wondering if you get rid of girlfriends in the same way!
(only joking...)

Posted by: Gray62 | July 28, 2009 6:28 AM | Report abuse

Btw, I'm writing this on a battle scared IBM Thinkpad T-22 that is still going strong and never let me down. I saved it from garbage some years ago, and revived it by simply implanting a new hard drive. Its resolution, processor speed, power consumption and overall quality are still good enough for the internets, email, and simple office tasks, and comparable to new netbooks. For "serious" computing, I have a bigger PC, but that one also demands more energy. So, why should I get rid of my IBM veteran, as long as I don't really need the enhanced performance of a MacBook Pro or a new Lenovo Thinkpad? Keeping my good ole Noti not only saves me money, but is also the more environmentally friendly thing to do. What's not to like?

Posted by: Gray62 | July 28, 2009 7:39 AM | Report abuse

Oops, make that "battle scarred" in my comment above. My brave little Thinkpad that still can (do the internets) is never afraid, of course!

Posted by: Gray62 | July 28, 2009 7:41 AM | Report abuse

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