8 Dec 2017

And Then, A Thought...

Christmas is coming and the begging adverts are coming thick and fast on TV. Well, thicker and faster then, and one advert in particular got me thinking.

A good while ago I posted in relation to how annoying it can be to end up in a queue at the till or checkout and find out in front is an elderly person who is slowly sorting change while talking incessantly to the cash register operative rather than filling their shopping bag. It later dawned on me that this moment is probably the only time that old person gets to talk to anybody at all and they’re taking full advantage of the moment.

Then  along comes the the TV advert stressing the loneliness of so many old folk which must be especially acute at this time of year. Then I remembered mocking those ‘interactive’ tin cans that seem to be so popular{?} and phones with such as Siri or Alexa or Bixby or Cortana or whatever.

Then I saw from A K Haart that AlphaGo Zero – no, me neither ‘till I saw that – has learned to play chess within moments and is, allegedly,  beating all-comers. Now I may be well behind the curve on this but wouldn’t you think that one or all of these ‘assistants’ could be programmed with a similar form of artificial intelligence giving it/them the ability, after a short learning curve to discover what Gladis or George  likes and dislikes, to hold a rudimentary conversation and thus become  a little company in a can for the lonely elderly. Would – could that work?

Quote;  Lois Lowey.

“The worst part of holding the memories is not the pain. It’s the loneliness of it. Memories need to be shared.”


A K Haart said...

I'm sure it will work one day. Saw a YouTube video of something similar where an elderly bed-bound Japanese lady was talking to a chatty gadget by her bedside... yes I can imagine doing that.

Mac said...

A K Heart,
Despite making fun of folk who talk to tin cans, in certain circumstances I believe they could have real benefits. Especially for the lonely elderly. From simple companionship to being a 24 hour carer and health monitor. Cooker off? Doors locked? Who’s at the door? Call an emergency service?
I'm okay right now but one problem I have with my current ‘chatty gadget’ is that there doesn’t seem to be any way to mute ‘it’ as and when circumstances dictate...