Tuesday, January 18, 2011

This And That and The Other


Today's New Word

From A.W.A.D.

remonstrate verb intr. To reason or plead in protest.


Earlier I was reading an article about 'sociable robots' and suddenly paused at this sentence: "She's a Harvard-trained psychologist and sociologist..."

'Harvard trained?' I asked myself. What exactly does that mean? Is that how one becomes a psychologist and a sociologist? By attending classes and lectures that 'train' a person? Like a dog is trained? By making the dog (and the student) perform certain mental exercises and muscle movements? Specific actions that with constant repetition lead to an eventual reward for performing a 'trick' exactly as instructed?

The deeper I thought about it the more logical seemed to be this process of 'learning.' The acquiring of skills, either simple or complicated, is nothing more than a complex version of the old monkey-see, monkey-do method.

A man or a woman, can be 'trained' to become more skilled at any task or discipline, it seems. One can be a Julliard trained concert pianist, or a Harvard trained attorney, or whatever.

But a robot can be programmed.

There's the difference.



“What scientific concept would improve everybody’s cognitive toolkit?”

That is the question asked by EDGE the website run by literary agent and author John Brockman. 163 of the world's top thinkers contributed their answers.


John Brockman


I just subscribed to the 4 weeks free digital edition of The New Yorker -- now all I have to do is learn how to use it. You can try the digital edition free for four weeks by registering, providing your name, address, and email address HERE.


More tomorrow . . .


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