Artificial toddlers

The dog is camped near the breakfast nook watching her other Human eat his lunch. We have a rule around here. She may watch us eat, but she must not bark, groan, or beg while doing so. I am a stickler about this rule. The human currently eating his lunch? Not so much. I am the fun-sucking, rule-enforcing, human mom who tries to make Lilly behave herself.  When you’re a mom, it comes with the job.

And so, you could say that she has us both figured out. In a lot of ways, owning a beagle is like having a human toddler who never grows up. Beagles test both your sanity and your boundaries on a daily basis. They are loud. They are stubborn. They spend the bulk of their days eating, sleeping, pooping, and looking for naughty things to do. You have to be a little crazy to share a home with a beagle.  But then, I guess the same could be said about most of the toddlers I’ve met. This is why God makes them cute.

A couple of weeks ago I attended South by Southwest EDU in Austin, Texas. It was fascinating. Technology has changed everything since I was a new teacher decades ago learning to thread a film strip projector.  I felt a little like Rip Van Winkle as I manipulated a beating heart using 3D technology and made a surgical incision in virtual reality. Another vendor was demonstrating personal robots or”Lovots” that use artificial intelligence to gauge human emotion and bond with the humans who take care of them. If you really want to scare yourself silly and seriously question where we are headed as a species, watch this:

It’s a whole new world, my friends. A whole new world. I’m still trying to wrap my mind around the idea that humans have created machines that bond emotionally with humans. I know.  It’s a lot to digest.

For now, I think I’ll just stick with beagles who beg.






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