Artificial Intelligence (AI), Is It Something To Be Afraid Of?

Today, I got a good dose of artificial intelligence, and I am afraid. All we have been hearing of late is that AI will do this and AI will do that with the implication that humans will be no longer be needed. Don’t believe it. That might happen in a hundred years, but it is not ready today. That is why I am afraid. The AI promoters are the same ones who have been drilling man-made global warming on us for the past forty years. When I was still a productive citizen meaning I was still working I was sold on the BS that computer salesman pushed. That was in the 1980’s when the PC was still kind of young. Oh the miracles these devices would perform for us! It has been thirty-some years since then and I’m still waiting for the miracles to happen. I must admit that PC’s have gotten better and the memory required to do good stuff has grown and some of the pitches are being realized. I was also reading about AI back in the eighties. I’m glad I’m not hanging by my thumbs while waiting for that to happen.

A month ago I got the urge to sell some of the stuff I have laying around the house. I was a big fan of eBay and had well over fifty sales under my belt. It took me a long time to learn how to use the service productively. Naturally, I tried to log in under my old user name and password and failed, and failed, and failed. Nothing I did would get me into my account. In desperation I opened a new account to quit wasting time. I wasted hours trying to get on with a new secure password. Everything I tried failed. Miraculously one of the tries worked and I got on to sell.

I selected two items which I thought would be easy; a Toy train set, and a lift for transferring a person from a bed to a wheelchair. A friend sold a lift just six months ago and clued me in how to ship it. (no shipping only local pickup) Both sales blew up on me. I thought the toy train would be an easy one, and it was, except for shipping. I knew the train would require some special handling because of the size of the box. I made the mistake of holding off specifying the mode of shipment. In their infinite wisdom the AI program picked free shipping because that is what the algorithm directed it to do. I didn’t learn who the buyer was until the auction ended; the buyer is in England. Now I had to undo the damage the program did by messaging the buyer to accept shipping charges. He did. UPS quoted $760, and the post office came in at $136. I went with the post office. The buyer tipped me off that I should inform eBay of our dealings or we would both lose our sell rights. I did. This morning I checked and the buyer had deposited the amount we agreed on. The program then prompted me to save eight bucks by shipping with an eBay label. Of course being a mercenary I pushed that button. It failed. I tried and tried but it kept failing. Finally I said to myself, find a human who can help. I pushed a phone icon to speak to someone. Success, But only after my screen shows me a code. My phone rings and an automaton voice asks for the code. I pump it in and get transferred to another voice. “How may I help you” said the voice. I answered, “I need help printing a label.”

It took repeated tries and three phone calls to finally get the voice to understand something I said. The voice answered “oh shipping, I can’t help you with that please go to the shipping page.”

“Bull shit” I responded, but the voice had already hung up. I really wanted this to work for me, but eBay and its AI wizards can only respond to customers who are also automatons. “Joe” I said to myself. “put a label on the box and take the box to the post office. I did, it worked. I don’t care if eBay gives me a poor rating it won’t be as low as the rating I gave them.

The second item, the lift. This thing is five feet tall, four feet wide and five feet deep and weighs seventy-five pounds. In order to box it I would have to take it apart. I specified local pick up for a reason. You want it, come and get it. Again, I didn’t specify how I would ship it because I didn’t intend to ship it. The eBay algorithm chose USPS and tagged it with a $8.35 shipping cost. I sent the buyer who is from Louisiana an eMail specifying I would return his money because the shipping was not possible for me. He replied “I paid, ship the item.” I responded by saying that if he wanted to drive up to Illinois to pick it up I would be happy to give it to him for the low price he bid. “His response to me ” I can get a brand new one for $150 shipped to my house, fuck you.”

I replied, “I think you should buy the new one. Thanks for the message, and by the way, the drive from Louisiana to Illinois is lovely this time of the year.”

I have sworn off eBay forever, and if they insist on this path using AI to communicate with sellers and buyers there will be many more people like me who will swear off. They are only interested in major sellers, and the onesy-twosy people who made them rich are being dumped.

At my age I can’t be wasting my life learning how to use new technology that is not ready to work. I would have been much better off putting both items at the curb with a sign stating “FREE”.

In between all of this I was communicating, or at least I was trying to communicate, with PayPal. I’ll save that story for another day.

Now does it make sense that I am afraid of artificial intelligence? The whole world is headed this way.

190710-Memes

I love all of them, but the last is my favorite.

Waxing Nostalgic

HOW’S THIS FOR NOSTALGIA?

It took three minutes for the TV to warm up
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Nobody owned a purebred dog
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When a quarter was a decent allowance? And made with real Silver!
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You’d reach into a muddy gutter for a penny?  Made with real copper! Looking to see if it was a 1943 copper penny!

Your Mom wore nylons that came in two pieces?

And the ad photo was considered risqué.

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You got your windshield cleaned, oil checked, and gas pumped, without asking, all for free, every time
And you didn’t pay for air And, you got trading stamps to boot

and gas was eighteen cents a gallon.
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Laundry detergent had free glasses, dishes or towels hidden inside the box?

Not to mention Cracker Jacks!
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It was considered a great privilege to be taken out to dinner at a real restaurant with your parents. 

I treated my parents to their first restaurant meal at my college graduation. My Mom’s reaction? “I could have fed the family for the whole month for what you just paid for lunch.”
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They threatened to keep kids back a grade if they failed…and they did it!

That was a sure cure for Attention Deficit Disorder.
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When a 57 Chevy was everyone’s dream car…
to cruise, peel out, lay rubber or watch submarine races, and people went steady

It still is.

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No one ever asked where the car keys were because they were always in the car, in the

ignition, and the doors were never locked?
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Definitely not recommended today. Nine out of ten cars stolen in Frankfort, IL are left unlocked in the drive with the keys in them.

Lying on your back in the grass with your friends and saying things like,

‘That cloud looks like a…’?
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Playing baseball with no adults to help kids with the rules of the game?
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Stuff from the store came without safety caps and hermetic seals because no one had

yet tried to poison a perfect stranger?
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And with all our progress, don’t you just wish, just once, you could slip back in time

and savor the slower pace, and share it with the children of today.
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When being sent to the principal’s office was nothing compared to the fate that awaited the

student at home?

Today, the neighbors will report you to DCFS for spanking your kid.
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Basically, we were in fear for our lives, but it wasn’t because of drive-by shootings,

drugs, gangs, etc Our parents and grandparents were a much bigger threat!

But we survived because their love was greater than the threat.
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as well as summers filled with bike rides, Hula hoops, and visits to the pool, and

eating Kool-Aid powder with sugar.
   
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Didn’t that feel good, just to go back and say,
‘Yeah, I remember that’?
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I am sharing this with you today because it ended with a Double Dog Dare to pass it on. To remember what a Double Dog Dare is, read on. And remember that the perfect age is somewhere between old enough to know better and too young to care.

Send this on to someone who can still remember Howdy Doody and The Peanut Gallery, the Lone Ranger, The Shadow knows, Nellie Bell , Roy and Dale, Trigger and Buttermilk.
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Candy cigarettes
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Wax Coke-shaped bottles with colored sugar water inside.
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Soda pop machines that dispensed glass bottles.
Coffee shops with Table Side Jukeboxes.
Blackjack, Clove and Teaberry chewing gum.

Home milk delivery in glass bottles with cardboard stoppers.
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Newsreels before the movie.
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Telephone numbers with a word prefix…( Yukon 2-601).   Or, some of us remember when there were just 4 numbers with no word prefix at all.  And, nearly everyone had a party line.

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Peashooters
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Hi-Fi’s & 45 RPM records.
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78 RPM records!
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S&H Green Stamps.
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Mimeograph paper.
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The Fort Apache Play Set.  
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Do You Remember a Time When…

Decisions were made by going ‘eeny-meeny-miney-moe’?  
Mistakes were corrected by simply exclaiming, ‘Do Over!’?  
‘Race issue’ meant arguing about who ran the fastest?  
http://www.whs1959.com/uploads/1/2/0/0/12004097/2276542_orig.jpg?408

Catching The Fireflies Could Happily Occupy An Entire Evening?  
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It wasn’t odd to have two or three ‘Best Friends’?  
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Having a Weapon in School meant being caught with a Slingshot? 

Except it wasn’t a polished wood model like the one shown. It was home made out of a tree branch and a slice of rubber from a car inner tube.  
http://www.whs1959.com/uploads/1/2/0/0/12004097/952780_orig.jpg?318

Saturday morning cartoons weren’t 30-minute commercials for action figures?

‘Oly-oly-oxen-free’ made perfect sense?

Spinning around, getting dizzy, and falling down was cause for giggles?  
http://www.whs1959..com/uploads/1/2/0/0/12004097/2164097_orig.jpg?440

The Worst Embarrassment was being picked last for a team?

Uniforms were for sissies.   
http://www.whs1959.com/uploads/1/2/0/0/12004097/2188095_orig.jpg?494
   
War was a card game?

Baseball cards in the spokes transformed any bike into a motorcycle?  
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Taking drugs meant orange – flavored chewable aspirin?

Milligrams were still a European term.   
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Water balloons were the ultimate weapon?  
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If you can remember most or all of these, Then You Have Lived!!!!!!!  
   
Pass this on to anyone who may need a break

from their ‘Grown-Up’ Life.

I Double-Dog-Dare-Ya!

PSA-190705-Old Guy’s Stuff

A WISE MAN ONCE SAID NOTHING.
 
RESPECT YOUR ELDERS; THEY GRADUATED SCHOOL WITHOUT THE INTERNET.
 
WHY DO I HAVE TO PRESS  “1” FOR ENGLISH?  DID WE MOVE?
 
BEHIND EVERY ANGRY WOMAN STANDS A MAN WHO HAS ABSOLUTELY NO IDEA WHAT HE DID WRONG.
 
INSTEAD OF “SINGLE” AS A MARITAL STATUS I PREFER “INDEPENDENTLY OWNED AND OPERATED”.
 
PATIENCE:  WHAT YOU HAVE WHEN THERE ARE TOO MANY WITNESSES.
 
LET’S STOP SENDING  MONEY TO OTHER COUNTRIES AND LET THEM HATE US FOR FREE.
 
VEGETARIAN:  ANCIENT TRIBAL NAME FOR THE VILLAGE IDIOT WHO CAN’T HUNT, FISH, OR LIGHT FIRES!
 
I LOOK AT PEOPLE AND SOMETIMES THINK….”REALLY?  THAT’S THE SPERM THAT WON?”
 
IN MY DEFENCE I WAS LEFT UNSUPERVISED.
 
CAMPING:  WHERE YOU SPEND A SMALL FORTUNE TO LIVE LIKE A HOMELESS PERSON.
 
IF MY BODY IS EVER FOUND ON A JOGGING TRAIL JUST KNOW THAT I WAS MURDERED SOMEWHERE ELSE AND DUMPED THERE.
 
 
MY DECISION-MAKING SKILLS CLOSELY RESEMBLE THOSE OF A SQUIRREL WHEN CROSSING THE ROAD….

SOME THINGS ARE JUST BETTER LEFT UNSAID.  AND I USUALLY REALIZE IT RIGHT AFTER I SAY THEM.

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