Speaking of the robot uprising

PHOTO: John Voo, Flickr CC-BY

Are you ready for when the metal ones come for you? And they will. My latest column for the Minnesota Reformer is out today. Ostensibly, “Um, Like, the Humans Are Speaking,” is about public speaking and artificial intelligence. But, like all commentary about A.I., it’s really about humanity. 

Here’s a taste:

Many of the analytical tasks that I do as a public speaking teacher can be replicated by the software with reasonable accuracy. The software’s been around for eight years and continues to improve. Every time a new person speaks into the can, so to speak, the computer learns more about how humans communicate.

The software doesn’t assess content, except to identify things like diction. But it’s pretty accurate in gauging vocal variety, eye contact, pacing and nonverbal behaviors. These areas cover much of what I write on student rubrics.

Naturally, my first reaction was to question the long term viability of my teaching career. I mean, people need to run the software, but how many, really?

Including this screed, a lot of intellectual ink is being spilled over A.I. By the time the speculation filters into the general population it becomes some amalgamation of fear, anger and jokes. I’m not afraid of this new technology, nor am I laughing. We are having a moment right now: a crossroads for the human race.

What does it mean to be human?

Read “Um, like, the humans are speaking” at the Minnesota Reformer.


  1. joe musich says

    I wonder if there will be a robot to replace retired old guys ? Someone did share on a facebook yesterday that insurance compaines have an alogrithim to slowly ween seniors of services they need the older they get. Laughable for sure. Possible ? Considering the current flow of the world why not ? Another play on the fears intentional generated about the ACA “death panels?” That moaning could still be in the mix. Here is the link https://act.newmode.net/action/be-hero-fund/tell-president-biden-stop-deathbyai
    This all sure seems like a bad movie come to life. One has got to wonder where the regulations are that pertain to the throwing outright fast ball lies to the public ? Oh wait did I just ask that ? With inflation maybe the old book title 100 Million Guinea Pigs needs to be update to a 100 Trillion Guiniea Pigs.

  2. Gerald S says

    The robot uprising has already happened, and humans lost. Almost everyone is being controlled by a robot minder that we call a phone, but which dictates the activity of a large percentage of the population, waking and sleeping. These I-people have long since surrendered their intellectual autonomy and the control of their lives to a harmless-appearing but all-powerful robot that is networked to the mother machines, reporting and manipulating all their behavior.

    Shockingly, the I-people pay large amounts for this out of their own pockets, already working as slaves for the robots as well as turning control of their lives over to them.

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