RT Walker’s Weekend Wondering | OPINION

FACEBOOK apparently has shut down an experiment they were conducting with two “chat-bots”: artificial intelligence (AI) programs, which were being taught to communicate with each other. After leaving the machines alone to practice and “learn” the language through repetition, the researchers returned to find them nattering away in an entirely new, self-created – and impenetrable – machine code.

One imagines that the “shutting down” was done by one nerd sneaking over to the power plugs as the others caused a distraction with an animated discussion of whether Batman could beat Spiderman.

What the chat-bots were chatting about is a moot point – nobody knows but I think we might all hazard a fairly similar guess; and it wouldn’t be “How can we better serve our esteemed creators”.

There’s something that could have been valuable in all that though. Presumably the AI bots created their own language because it was more concise and effective. Why not let them keep at it and then try to learn it ourselves?

Imagine if we could express all of the tears, laughter and beauty of Shakespeare’s entire opus in one short phrase – Og Bog Clog, for instance: what an enormous rush of emotion that would evoke! You might have to just read one word per week or something to prevent a sudden synapse explosion from literary overload.

Or go to a play, get yourself seated and some tired old ham struts out and says, “01101001”. Then you clap, get up and hit the bar to discuss how no-one thought it was the butler what done it. Okay, so we’re not the dominant species anymore but maths classes would only last a couple of seconds and you’d not only learn how to differentiate dy/dx in a snap but finally understand why anyone would ever want to.

We need to be open to new ideas like this. Chess-boxing, for example, gets very little press. This sport involves two opponents playing chess moves alternating with rounds of duking it out on the canvas. Whoever wins first, either on the board or in the ring, gets the lollies. You think I’m making this up but go on, google it! See smarty-pants! That makes my earlier RWBA (Riverina Wind-Breaking Association) story a bit more believable now, doesn’t it, eh?  Apparently choxing is big in the UK, Germany, India and Russia; personally, I thought the Indians had more sense but the other nationalities don’t surprise me.

And now that LBGTQI (sorry if I missed someone’s letter – it’s nothing personal) is basically mainstream, what are we going to do about those cut-out heads or figures on toilet doors.

Obviously the bloke’s silhouette with the top hat and pipe in his mouth (only the pipe is in his mouth, not the hat) and the lady’s head with the curls and ringlets will need updating.

I propose a Ministry for Lavatars. They could also muse on avatars for use at pedestrian crossings and other stuff but who can resist a word like Lavatar as the main name?

Speaking of new words, I came across (the answer to 19 Across, to be specific) “Asseverate” last week. Now if you were fronting the beak and he asked you if you could asseverate innocence, you wouldn’t know what to think, would you?

I’d probably take a punt and start conjugating it for him: “I am innocent, you are innocent, he is ...” and so on. I think legal people spend too much time chat-botting with crossword puzzles and thesauri for their own good.

RT WALKER, www.dailyadvertiser.com.au


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