Kids Party An event that is expected to be fun and filled with wonderful memories often turns out to be stressful and filled with tears. Liza H., a young mother of two, comments, “It was during my son’s third birthday party that I decided I would never host one of these events again. With crepe paper and balloons strung through my house, horns blowing, children fighting, and chocolate birthday cake smeared into my new carpet, I was sure to have a nervous breakdown before the gifts were even opened. I couldn’t imagine how I was going to get through this party. How had parents survived their children’s parties for all these years?”
I once had a friend who dreamed of being a stockbroker. As she’d talk, starry-eyed, about following stocks in the newspaper and doing her own buying and selling, I would think, I don’t know another woman who does this. Not one. Instead, most of us who are not entirely risk-averse do what seems like the smart thing: We invest in a high-performing mutual fund on the theory that the hotshot fund manager will do the stock-picking for us.
Computer scientists around the world celebrated that date in 1992 by debating whether a computer with the intelligence of HAL would ever come to exist. The general conclusion seemed to be, probably not. While research quietly continues into such exotic areas as “expert systems,” cognitive reasoning,” and neural networks,” much of the hype found with the early days of the electro-brains has all but disappeared. What remains is a plodding, careful and thoughtful march into the future.
“Open the Pod bay doors,” said astronaut Dave Bowman to HAL, the genius computer featured in the film classic, 2011: A Space Odyssey. “I’m sorry, Dave, I’m afraid I can’t do that,” came the chilling response. In 1968, HAL re-affirmed our opinion that the computer of the future was to be untrustworthy and evil.