/Cog/ noun: a toothed bar or wheel
I wish I could tell new graduates: All those How-to-pass-a-Job-Interview booklets, with their advice to "research the company" have a secret agenda.
I've recently been astounded by a new appreciation for old common advice on how to find a job... and what sort of worker to be, once hired.
My thoughts here begin with machines, then go to a computer expert's essay about jobs, and at last I consider democracy.
Machines. Said the Cylon to the human, "Are you alive?" Could you, dear reader, pass the "Turing test?" Not everyone can. I was talking to David Gerrold, a father and science fiction writer. He remarked that children could not always pass, that a kid will suddenly impulsively reach for an object and not know why. How can you tell if a machine has become "alive," has become an "artificial intelligence," has become, by definition, "self aware?" In the film 2010 the computer Hal shows it's self awareness when he asks, "Will I dream?"
The father of the computer age, Alan Turing, came up with a simple test. In Turing's day, a time of slide rules and vacuum tubes, no one knew how to build an artificial intelligence, but everybody knew that someday many people would be making the attempt.