One of the greatest minds in the world today — no, not Ryan Seacrest or even Joe Biden — but rather the man who gave us synthesizer keyboards, scanners and speech recognition systems, along with Pop Tarts, has predicted that within 15 years, robots will be smarter than humans.
However, when you think about it, that’s not very hard to do.
Still, this development, I’m convinced, will cause yet another crisis in American education. First, China walloped us in the sciences, then English majors had a harder time finding jobs than Tim Tebow and now robots are going to beat us at Candy Crush. Look on the bright side, though, at least we’ll have someone (or something) to help us with our income tax returns so we don’t end up in the slammer like Leona Helmsley, although pretty soon the IRS may be run by robots, along with Congress and Dancing With the Stars.
Come to think of it, this will usher in a new era for democracy and entertainment. If a computer can beat Garry Kasparov at chess, robots ought to be able to balance the federal budget, take bribes and do the Macarena if not the chicken dance.
Visionary Ray Kurzweil, who works for Google, recently predicted robots will do much more than collect moon rocks. They’ll be able to flirt, reason, and converse about the big questions in life, such as why is Miley Cyrus always wagging her tongue like an overheated Jack Russell terrier?
What I find so disturbing is that modern science can program robots to act sexy like Angelina Jolie, but can’t get Metro-North trains to run on time or Al Roker to figure out whether there’s going to be 12 inches of snow or a heat wave. They can’t even get Starbucks to develop a latte that costs less than a family pass at Disney World.
It’s time for America to get back to basics. We have elaborate computer circuitry and artificial intelligence, but we’re backward when it comes to everyday needs.
Kurzweil says that by 2029 robots will be smarter than the people who build them, which is scary, especially if these robots come off the assembly line in China. Just look at what China did to the dog treat industry. (My vet says never buy jerky treats made in China.)
This new generation of robots will probably be programmed to steal our technological and scientific secrets, not to mention our credit cards and Social Security checks. You think Social Security has problems now? Wait till the robots take over and start cashing our checks to buy WD40 and subscriptions to Popular Mechanics magazine, not to mention porno like Playrobot.
Why, though, would you want a robot that flirts? Wouldn’t you prefer one that took out the recyclables? I confess, however, that I’d love to have my own personal robot, the Jennifer Lawrence model if you please, or as a second choice, a Sofia Vergara model that could speak Spanish and English, do massages, make nachos and mix margaritas.
There’s no telling how this new generation of robots will change social life in America. Match.com will become obsolete, thank goodness. Instead we’ll rely on Robots.com, and everyone will have a perfect partner made on the assembly line.
The good news is everyone will be able to get a date. Even guys like me who were awkward with girls will have a chance. The bad news is I don’t want to think about what will happen on those dates.
Despite these groundbreaking innovations, there’s something we should never forget. Even though robots will talk dirty, cheat and lie, argue politics and do other nifty things, they still won’t feel patriotism in their hearts for this great land of ours the way we God-fearing Americans do whenever we hear The Star Spangled Banner at Yankee Stadium or get a refund check from the IRS.
Always remember that at the end of the day, they’re just machines with electronic brains, not flesh and blood with actual functioning brains like us humans, who have real cholesterol-clogged hearts beating inside us … beating inside us … beating inside us …
Joe Pisani may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.