Our cars are almost entirely computer controlled. Our TVs and phones are “smart”. But are they intelligent? Are IBM’s Deep Blue and Watson intelligent? What does it actually mean to be intelligent? How can we tell?

We will explore some of the basic concepts behind human and machine intelligence and discuss at what level we would consider machines to be intelligent. Is it all about speed and memory and problem solving? Or is it more about learning and thinking for themselves; how about feelings?

There are indeed many open questions when discussing cutting edge technology in computers, but as we will all face this new reality, we must start answering these questions.

Your views and input are important. Join us in what will be a fascinating and lively evening.

Presenter: Torben & Gary



Book recommendations from Gary:

  • “Our Grandchildren Redesigned” by Michael Bess.
    • The book surveys emerging biotechnologies for “enhancement” of human (and animal) physical, cognitive, and personality traits along with ethical considerations and possible advantages/disadvantages, e.g., “designer babies.” Reviews pharmaceutical, bioelectric, genetic/epigenetic, and nanotech trends. Remarkable possibilities–you’ll love it or be really unnerved by these scenarios, but the science is racing forward. (Book is written for the general, inquisitive reader; you don’t have to be a scientist to appreciate it, although there is some simple explanation of scientific concepts.)
  • “The Great Transition: Shifting from Fossil Fuels to Solar and Wind Energy” by Lester R. Brown.
    • After talking with Torben about the ongoing cascade of coal company bankruptcies here in the U.S. (good news unless you’re a coal miner! IMHO), I found this library book on the current status of renewables around the globe. I was pleasantly surprised about how far along the transition to green energies is; although clearly there is a long way to go before most of our energy production is non-polluting, the transition is accelerating as more and more state and national governments get on board, as well as increasing social blow-back on coal and nuclear. Another reason to feel optimistic about the future. (Note: If you’re invested [$] in the energy sector, it would be prudent to read and consider this info.)