Tin Bartolome - Hopechest

Posted at Jul 14 2017 08:48 PM

Yes, that means Artificial Intelligence (AI), the area of computer science that deals with developing machines with human traits like speech recognition, learning, planning and problem solving.

University of Minnesota’s College of Science and Engineering mentions research groups falling under AI but are disciplines in their own right. These groups include robotics, computer vision and others.

A number of movies about AI have been made and shown: The Bicentennial Man, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Robot & Frank, Westworld, Wall-E, AI, I, Robot, Terminator, and Transcendence are just some of them. Some portray them as sinister entities whose intelligence has “gone to their heads” so to speak. Others are endowed with human emotions such that they—and their viewers forget they are machines.

This is not about that kind of artificial intelligence. The term came up when I heard my children discussing sci-fi movies they’ve seen. The term caught my attention because I had an “aha!” moment around the time I was processing something that made me feel I was being nasty. 

A few weeks earlier, a friend insisted that we see a movie after they had lunch with former classmates. She had asked earlier if I wanted to join them, though she admitted that she knew I wouldn’t want to because I was avoiding one of the guests, the one we have come to call AI. I met them for coffee after dinner instead.

She said she realized why I was avoiding this person because she had a good dose of “AI’s” braggadocio. AI was “Wala yan sa Lolo ko” winner, hands down. She always had to be the “ultimate”, the mostest. She always did her best to outdo others.

My own experience with her will explain why she was given that name. We were discussing in class why cases against perpetrators of child abuse (especially the victims’ fathers or stepfathers) do not prosper. She asked why there was no law requiring victims of child abuse to file/pursue the case against the perpetrators.

I was allowed to explain, so I said that children being minors usually had no juridical personality and that their relatives or even institutions can file the case for them. I said there were a number of institutions that did just that. She cut me short, saying “I know, I’ve worked with them” and continued her argument about children filing cases against errant fathers.

At first, I was offended; it was only then that I remembered past conversations with her—mine and those that I overheard. Famous for her arrogance, few liked her or even dared talk to her. I later learned that though she is extremely well-off (that she can afford to donate), she probably felt inferior to many of those who belonged to her circle. Unlike the colegialas she rubs elbows with, she admitted having attended what she perhaps perceived as a much inferior school.

Though I have no evidence except for her appearance, she has obviously had surgical alterations to make her look the way she does. So, okay, call me nasty—or even downright wicked: isn’t “artificial intelligence” appropriate for someone whose looks are not natural and tries very hard to be profound?

Psychology explains the inferiority/superiority continuum and this could very well apply in this case. However, what made a greater impact on me was what Fr. Manuel Montesclaros, a Jesuit priest once told us: “We were loved first”. This means that we do not have to be anything else—not even for other humans like ourselves—to be something in the eyes of God.

I stopped judging her and have come to include her in my prayers—as much as I pray for myself so I do not become as desperate and grab every chance to compete. I do not aspire to be perfect, nor do I want to be an “Artificial Intelligence”.

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