Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Quote of the Day: Hubbard on Automation

 

“One machine can do the work of fifty ordinary men. No machine can do the work of one extraordinary man.” — Elbert Hubbard

Are you ordinary? Or are you extraordinary? What do you think, Ricochet? Can an extraordinary man be replaced by a machine? Will it happen in the future?

Published in Group Writing
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  1. Arahant Member
    Arahant

    This is the Quote of the Day. There is still one blank spot on our schedule for the 28th. Or, if you have a hankering for the hither horizon, we also have openings in October.

    If quotations aren’t your thing, perhaps you would like to join in on the Group Writing Project. Clifford still has 24th available with the writing cue of If I was a _____, I would _____. That’s today. And if you don’t do it, you’ll have to put up with another from me. You don’t want that. He also has next month’s schedule out: It was a dark and stormy night…

    Really, these are easy ways to get your feet wet in writing for Ricochet and practicing on the friendly people here. Come join us.

    • #1
    • September 24, 2020, at 4:02 AM PDT
    • Like
  2. Ekosj Member

    It can happen and it will happen. It is happening. I’m waiting for the Butlerian Jihad from Frank Herbert’s Dune and it’s prohibition “Thou shalt not make a machine in the likeness of a human mind,”

    • #2
    • September 24, 2020, at 4:13 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  3. Arahant Member
    Arahant

    Ekosj (View Comment):

    It can happen and it will happen. It is happening. I’m waiting for the Butlerian Jihad from Frank Herbert’s Dune and it’s prohibition “Thou shalt not make a machine in the likeness of a human mind,”

    We shall see what happens and how soon. Are you ready to lead the jihad?

    • #3
    • September 24, 2020, at 4:19 AM PDT
    • Like
  4. Judge Mental Member

    John Henry was extraordinary.

    • #4
    • September 24, 2020, at 5:41 AM PDT
    • 9 likes
  5. Raxxalan Member
    RaxxalanJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Arahant:

    Can an extraordinary man be replaced by a machine?

    I doubt it unless something fundamentally changes in the nature of machines. Even the most sophisticated machines are constrained in ways that humankind is not. Could this change? Maybe? If you presume that man in his ability to create is equal to the divine. Since I do not believe that, it will never be possible to replace an extraordinary man with a machine.

    • #5
    • September 24, 2020, at 5:47 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
    • This comment has been edited.
  6. JoelB Member

    Man will never be able to create a machine like himself until he fully understands himself. I just watched a presentation on the “second brain” that is in the heart by a noted neurocardiologist. What struck me more than anything was how many times he would present a finding on a slide and say “I don’t understand this”.

    • #6
    • September 24, 2020, at 6:09 AM PDT
    • 5 likes
  7. Richard Fulmer Member

    Judge Mental (View Comment):

    John Henry was extraordinary.

    So was Paul Bunyan (or, at least, he would have been if he’d been real). We can replace people who are physically extraordinary, and we can replace people who are mentally extraordinary in a single area, such as chess players.

    • #7
    • September 24, 2020, at 6:22 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  8. Arahant Member
    Arahant

    Richard Fulmer (View Comment):
    We can replace people who are physically extraordinary, and we can replace people who are mentally extraordinary in a single area, such as chess players.

    Yes, but can we replace the extraordinarily lazy? 😉

    • #8
    • September 24, 2020, at 6:24 AM PDT
    • 7 likes
  9. JoelB Member

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Richard Fulmer (View Comment):
    We can replace people who are physically extraordinary, and we can replace people who are mentally extraordinary in a single area, such as chess players.

    Yes, but can we replace the extraordinarily lazy? 😉

    Some people say nothing is impossible, but I do nothing every day.

    – Winnie the Pooh

     

    • #9
    • September 24, 2020, at 6:46 AM PDT
    • 11 likes
  10. Arahant Member
    Arahant

    JoelB (View Comment):

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Richard Fulmer (View Comment):
    We can replace people who are physically extraordinary, and we can replace people who are mentally extraordinary in a single area, such as chess players.

    Yes, but can we replace the extraordinarily lazy? 😉

    Some people say nothing is impossible, but I do nothing every day.

    – Winnie the Pooh

    Well, at least it’s not being replaced by a machine, only a bear of very little brain.

    • #10
    • September 24, 2020, at 6:47 AM PDT
    • 7 likes
  11. Richard Fulmer Member

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Richard Fulmer (View Comment):
    We can replace people who are physically extraordinary, and we can replace people who are mentally extraordinary in a single area, such as chess players.

    Yes, but can we replace the extraordinarily lazy? 😉

    I was going to try, but decided that it was too much effort.

    • #11
    • September 24, 2020, at 6:49 AM PDT
    • 5 likes
  12. Addiction Is A Choice Member

    • #12
    • September 24, 2020, at 7:04 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  13. David Foster Member
    David FosterJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Back in 2013, Tyler Cowen (in his book Average is Over) argued that computer technology is creating a sharp economic and class distinction between people who know how to effectively use these “genius machines” (a term he uses over and over) and those who don’t, and is also increasing inequality in other ways.

    I responded to Tyler’s thoughts here–Musings on Tyler’s Technological Thoughts–including a passage from Peter Drucker, who described two old-line, hands on merchants, one of whom he calls “Uncle Henry” and the other of whom was Charlie Kellstadt of Sears. After relating some anecdotes about these two men and their management styles–and also introducing Uncle Henry’s son Irving, a Harvard B-school graduate, Drucker continues:

    Fifty years or more ago the Uncle Henry’s and the Charlie Kellsadts dominated; then it was necessary for Son Irvin to emphasize systems, principles, and abstractions. There was need to balance the overly perceptual with a little conceptual discipline. I still remember the sense of liberation during those years in London when I stumbled onto the then new Symblolical Logic (which I later taught a few times), with its safeguards against tautologies and false analogies, against generalizing from isolated events, that is, from anecdotes, and its tools of semantic rigor. But now we again need the Uncle Henrys and Charlie Kellstadts. We have gone much too far toward dependence on untested quantification, toward symmetrical and purely formal models, toward argument from postulates rather than from experience, and toward moving from abstraction to abstraction without once touching the solid ground of concreteness. We are in danger of forgetting what Plato taught at the very beginning of systematic analysis and thought in the West, in two of the most beautiful and moving of his Dialogues, the Phaedrus and the Krito…They teach us that experience without the test of logic is not “rhetoric” but chitchat, and that logic without the test of experience is not “logic” but absurdity. Now we need to learn again what Charlie Kellstadt meant when he said, “How else can I see a problem in my mind’s eye?”

     

    • #13
    • September 24, 2020, at 7:20 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  14. Misthiocracy got drunk and Member
    Misthiocracy got drunk andJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Ekosj (View Comment):

    It can happen and it will happen. It is happening. I’m waiting for the Butlerian Jihad from Frank Herbert’s Dune and it’s prohibition “Thou shalt not make a machine in the likeness of a human mind,”

    Ok, now define “human mind”. It’s harder than it seems. I could imagine a definition that would make something as simple as a music box fall under the Butlerian prohibition.

    • #14
    • September 24, 2020, at 8:24 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
    • This comment has been edited.
  15. Ekosj Member

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Ekosj (View Comment):

    It can happen and it will happen. It is happening. I’m waiting for the Butlerian Jihad from Frank Herbert’s Dune and it’s prohibition “Thou shalt not make a machine in the likeness of a human mind,”

    We shall see what happens and how soon. Are you ready to lead the jihad?

    I would. But With Covid restrictions I’d have to do it remotely. Can you lead the anti-computer Jihad from your laptop? Or are the optics bad?

    • #15
    • September 24, 2020, at 8:58 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  16. Arahant Member
    Arahant

    Ekosj (View Comment):
    Can you lead the anti-computer Jihad from your laptop? Or are the optics bad?

    Hmmn, you may have a point.

    • #16
    • September 24, 2020, at 8:59 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  17. Bill Nelson Member

    I’m so ordinary I cannot even be seen.

    • #17
    • September 24, 2020, at 12:05 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
  18. Gary McVey Contributor
    Gary McVeyJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    The last two lines spoken in Dinner at Eight (1933): 

    Jean Harlow: They say that every profession will be replaced by machinery.

    Marie Dressler: That’s something that you need never concern yourself about, my dear. 

    • #18
    • September 24, 2020, at 1:39 PM PDT
    • 9 likes
  19. Percival Thatcher
    PercivalJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Gary McVey (View Comment):

    The last two lines spoken in Dinner at Eight (1933):

    Jean Harlow: They say that every profession will be replaced by machinery.

    Marie Dressler: That’s something that you need never concern yourself about, my dear.

    Marie Dressler! Oscar for Best Actress. Min and Bill.

    • #19
    • September 24, 2020, at 1:56 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  20. Paul Stinchfield Member
    Paul StinchfieldJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Thanks for posting this quote. Elbert Hubbard was an interesting man who made significant cultural contributions. He and his wife were killed in 1915 when a German submarine torpedoed the Lusitania.

    • #20
    • September 24, 2020, at 3:33 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  21. Arahant Member
    Arahant

    Paul Stinchfield (View Comment):
    He and his wife were killed in 1915 when a German submarine torpedoed the Lusitania.

    Which is definitely an interesting fact about him.

    • #21
    • September 24, 2020, at 3:45 PM PDT
    • Like
  22. Paul Stinchfield Member
    Paul StinchfieldJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Arahant (View Comment):
    Which is definitely an interesting fact about him.

    Heh.(TM) But what interests me are his contributions to the Arts and Crafts movement. Fascinating and influential.

    • #22
    • September 24, 2020, at 3:51 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  23. Arahant Member
    Arahant

    Paul Stinchfield (View Comment):
    Fascinating and influential.

    Definitely. The Roycrofters were a big deal.

    • #23
    • September 24, 2020, at 4:01 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  24. Randy Webster Member

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Richard Fulmer (View Comment):
    We can replace people who are physically extraordinary, and we can replace people who are mentally extraordinary in a single area, such as chess players.

    Yes, but can we replace the extraordinarily lazy? 😉

    I think a rock handles that pretty nicely.

    • #24
    • September 24, 2020, at 5:07 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  25. Flicker Coolidge

    Even if we assume that the brain is more or less synonymous with the mind, can an AI computer every be able to feel empathy (or sympathy) if it has never experienced pain: either physical or emotional? There are children born with congenital anesthesia or inability to feel pain, and unfortunately they often die in childhood, because they have difficulty learning not to do things that cause their bodies to be damaged, and aren’t aware when they hurt themselves (because it doesn’t hurt).

    Can we ever create a machine that can even approximate empathy when they can’t even ever feel things themselves? And if we make a machine without empathy, what will that machine not do?

    • #25
    • September 24, 2020, at 6:03 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
  26. The Reticulator Member

    David Foster (View Comment):

    Back in 2013, Tyler Cowen (in his book Average is Over) argued that computer technology is creating a sharp economic and class distinction between people who know how to effectively use these “genius machines” (a term he uses over and over) and those who don’t, and is also increasing inequality in other ways.

    I responded to Tyler’s thoughts here–Musings on Tyler’s Technological Thoughts–including a passage from Peter Drucker, who described two old-line, hands on merchants, one of whom he calls “Uncle Henry” and the other of whom was Charlie Kellstadt of Sears. After relating some anecdotes about these two men and their management styles–and also introducing Uncle Henry’s son Irving, a Harvard B-school graduate, Drucker continues:

    Fifty years or more ago the Uncle Henry’s and the Charlie Kellsadts dominated; then it was necessary for Son Irvin to emphasize systems, principles, and abstractions. There was need to balance the overly perceptual with a little conceptual discipline. I still remember the sense of liberation during those years in London when I stumbled onto the then new Symblolical Logic (which I later taught a few times), with its safeguards against tautologies and false analogies, against generalizing from isolated events, that is, from anecdotes, and its tools of semantic rigor. But now we again need the Uncle Henrys and Charlie Kellstadts. We have gone much too far toward dependence on untested quantification, toward symmetrical and purely formal models, toward argument from postulates rather than from experience, and toward moving from abstraction to abstraction without once touching the solid ground of concreteness. We are in danger of forgetting what Plato taught at the very beginning of systematic analysis and thought in the West, in two of the most beautiful and moving of his Dialogues, the Phaedrus and the Krito…They teach us that experience without the test of logic is not “rhetoric” but chitchat, and that logic without the test of experience is not “logic” but absurdity. Now we need to learn again what Charlie Kellstadt meant when he said, “How else can I see a problem in my mind’s eye?”

     

    I probably won’t read the book, but your review was worth reading even without the book.

    • #26
    • September 24, 2020, at 6:15 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  27. Al Sparks Thatcher

    Give me an idea of what you mean by extraordinary. The top one percent?

    What AI (or machines) do is replace the ordinary.

    There may come a time where everyone except the top one percent are replaced. But it might mean the ordinary live a life of leisure with nothing to do.

    Either that or have jobs that do nothing, giving the recipient the illusion that they’re useful. We actually have a lot of jobs already that are like that.

    • #27
    • September 26, 2020, at 7:12 PM PDT
    • Like
  28. Stad Thatcher

    Richard Fulmer (View Comment):

    Judge Mental (View Comment):

    John Henry was extraordinary.

    So was Paul Bunyan (or, at least, he would have been if he’d been real). We can replace people who are physically extraordinary, and we can replace people who are mentally extraordinary in a single area, such as chess players.

    I think you’re on to something. Machines and computers appear to do one thing really well, but humans can do many things well.

    • #28
    • September 27, 2020, at 6:15 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  29. Stad Thatcher

    Bill Nelson (View Comment):

    I’m so ordinary I cannot even be seen.

    I thought I heard a voice . . .

    • #29
    • September 27, 2020, at 6:16 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  30. Stad Thatcher

    Arahant: Are you ordinary? Or are you extraordinary?

    Is is cheating to say both?

    I feel ordinary. But when I look back at what I’ve done in life (and what I have planned for the future), I have to say I feel extraordinary – until my wife asks me to take the trash to the dump . . .

    • #30
    • September 27, 2020, at 6:21 AM PDT
    • 4 likes