IT’s here.

Let’s dispense with some hair-splitting right up front. What follows lumps “machine learning” and “cognitive computing” and “artificial intelligence” and “advanced robotics” into one box that from here on shall be referred to as “Intelligent Technology,” or “IT.”

IT includes self-driving cars, robots building those cars, computerized doctors, advanced game-playing algorithms, Amazon or Google or Apple or Facebook centers that parse “big data … all of it. All of IT. (more…)

Remember the future

Yesterday, I bought my first robot.

Also yesterday, my Link (cellphone to you) upgraded itself to Android 4.4.2, though I had to manually invoke the “Android RunTime” upgrade.

Today I read about Google buying Boston Dynamics, a company that makes a robot that runs like a cheetah faster than a man, and while I couldn’t quite see the lounge chair on my porch with the satellite view in Google Maps, I can see the front door of a friend’s house. And my Link can guide me from my remote Oregon hilltop to a deli in San Francisco if I ask it to.

At one time, getting lost was the adventure.

They are are floating Google cameras down the Grand Canyon, and two thousand cars  photograph the streets of Hyderabad, India every day. When I was in India the first time, it was on the other side of the world. Now I can drive the streets from my easy chair.

Everything. Is. Being. Digitized.

This column started to be about how we might expect to see a flood, with frozen ground covered by snow, if warm, wet Pacific storms head our way for Christmas as they often do. But something happened on the way to the laptop. A friend recalled the flood of 1964, which we both remembered, then we both realized at about the same time that was a half century ago.

I learned to read from Asimov, Heinlein, Philip K. Dick, Delaney and the others. They took me to worlds where anything that could be imagined could be true, a place better than where I lived. I wrote a paper in sixth grade that described such a place.

I live there, now. Its job done, my vacuum cleaner just put itself away.