The Design Rationale for
Speculations on “The
John Charles Thomas, Ph.D.
Dissertation compared human behavior in problem
solving to AI program.
Worked in various aspects of Human-Computer
Interaction for a dozen years at IBM Research.
Executive Director of AI lab at NYNEX for a dozen
Returned to IBM Research to work in knowledge
socialization, complexity, human computer interaction,
and cognitive computing.
Refers to a hypothetical
time in the not so distant
future when a computer
system will be developed
intelligence capable of
creating a still more
Computer HW continues to be faster, cheaper, lower power.
Advances in AI techniques continue.
More is being learned about the human brain to “inspire”
Increased speed and power of HW means more experiments can
be run to further improve AI techniques more quickly.
As AI provides more results, more computer scientists begin
using these techniques.
This provides a “virtuous cycle” of improvements.
Whether or not this actually results in “The
Singularity” or not, it is clear that signiﬁcant
practical applications of AI will continue to
*Every* new technology has social, political
and ethical implications.
This is particularly so with Information
Technology and Artiﬁcial Intelligence.
Time is of the Essence
Now is the time to
consider the possible
implications of Artiﬁcial
Intelligence for society,
economics, jobs, health,
crime and punishment,
welfare, defense, energy
policy, education, human
communication, and so on.
Method to Examine Possible
Scenarios help us examine
our own emotional
reactions to possible
Although none of the
scenarios may come true
in detail, considering them
helps us prepare for
First appeared as a blog series on
Chose disparate scenarios to explore
possible issues, positive and negative
that can come from attempt to
Too unsure of future to develop a
single coherent narrative.
Inspired by Alan Lightman book
called, “Einstein’s Dreams” — a set
of scenarios about possible universes
in which time operates differently.
Artwork adds to cost but induces moods.
Like possible futures of AI:
Some images are distortions of what we
already see today.
Some are are unrecognizable, though if you
look closely, you can see echoes of today.
Some look like ordinary pictures but have
something hidden behind the scenes.
Also meant to connote continuity because
images made by author’s grandfather,
author, author’s son, and author’s
Decisions about AI will require
creativity and calm
Although decisions are
important, stress makes
creativity and calm more
Hence, humor and “Easter Eggs”
— some obvious & some more
Barrat, J. Artiﬁcial Intelligence and the End of the Human Era. St. Martin’s Grifﬁn, 2015.
Bostrom, N. Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies. Oxford University Press, 2014.
Kurzweil, R. The Singularity is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology. Penguin Books,
Thomas, J. Patterns for Emergent Global Intelligence. In Creativity and Rational:
Enhancing Human Experience by Design, J. Carroll, (Ed). New York: Springer, 2012.
Thomas, J. and Richards J. Achieving Psychological Simplicity: Measures and Methods to
Reduce Cognitive Complexity. In The Human Computer Interaction Handbook. J. Jacko
(Ed). CRC Press, 2012
Thomas, J. An HCI Agenda for the Next Millennium: Emergent Global Intelligence. In R.
Earnshaw, R. Guedj, A. van Dam, and J. Vince (Eds.), Frontiers of Human-Centered
Computing, Online Communities, and Virtual Environments. London: Springer-Verlag,
Other Books by John
Charles Thomas, Ph.D.
The Winning Weekend Warrior: How to
succeed at golf, tennis, baseball, football,
basketball, hockey, volleyball, business,
life, etc. http://tinyurl.com/ng2heq3
Fit in Bits: How to Stay in Shape when
you Absolutely, Positively Have no Time.