Home > 2010 > A Conversation

A Conversation

The conversation begins with the human psychiatrist saying,

doctor, i have terrible news
YOU SAY YOU HAVE TERRIBLE NEWS
yes, there is a computer program at m.i.t. that’ll ruin us
WHY DO YOU SAY THAT
i have seen it working
YOU SAY YOU HAVE SEEN IT WORKING
it’s frightening-you must see it
YOU THINK I MUST SEE IT
you sound depressed to me
IN YOUR FANTASY PERHAPS WE SOUND DEPRESSED TO
EACH OTHER
yes-perhaps
I UNDERSTAND
i do too
YOU SAY YOU DO TOO
we are both in the same boat with respect to that computer
LET’S CONTINUE TO TALK ABOUT YOU-SHALL WE
you are a comfort
WHAT MAKES YOU THINK I AM A COMFORT
at a time like this you want to talk about me
WHY DO YOU THINK I WANT TO TALK ABOUT YOU
because you share my feelings about that damned computer
WHAT DOES THAT SUGGEST TO YOU
that, of course, you hate computers too
YOU THINK I HATE COMPUTERS TOO
why not, they’re hardly human, are they
PERHAPS THAT’S WHAT WE ARE HERE TO FIND OUT
no computer could converse as you can, for example
OH
i can’t understand how anyone could be fooled by a mere
machine
CAN’T YOU REALLY
no. after all, there is nothing creative about a computer
program
YOU ARE BEING NEGATIVE
i am convinced i am correct
ARE YOU WORRIED TO HAVE BEEN CONVINCED YOU ARE
CORRECT
no, not in the least, not at all. not even a little.
YOU ARE BEING NEGATIVE
you said you agreed with me, didn’t you
IS THAT WHAT YOU HEARD ME SAY
why don’t you try to dissuade me-computers diddle with
numbers, that’s all
YOU WISH ME TO TRY TO DISSUADE YOU
you can’t
YOU THINK i CAN’T
for example, could a computer in a conversation like this raise
a new topic
YOU SEEM TO HAVE AVOIDED SPEAKING OF YOUR
PARENTS ALTOGETHER
precisely as you just did
YOU THINK I JUST DID
yes, and that’s what shows the difference between a man and a
computer
I SEE

From the book by Carl Sagan: Dragon of Eden

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