Links and articles about technology, design, and sociology. Written by Rian van der Merwe. Follow @RianVDM
Intelligence, boredom, and pushing boulders up the Facebook hill
At first it’s hard to figure out what the title of Nicholas Carr’s A post on the occasion of Facebook’s billionth member has to do with Facebook. Especially since he hardly even mentions Facebook. It appears to be an essay about boredom and computer intelligence:
We’ll know that computers are really smart when computers start getting bored. If you assign a computer a profoundly tedious task like spotting potential house numbers in video images, and then you come back a couple of hours later and find that the computer is checking its Facebook feed or surfing porn, then you’ll know that artificial intelligence has truly arrived.
But stick with it. It all makes sense once you get to the end and reflect on the words for a couple of hours. Also, full marks to Parampreet Singh for a comment that references Sisyphus, and compares his plight (“to roll an immense boulder up a hill, only to watch it roll back down, and to repeat this action forever”) with our tendency to check our Facebook feeds constantly.