Letter: Stupid machine is no threat

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The Independent Online
Sir: Andrew Wyatt's letter (31 December) caused much mirth at our breakfast table. Only last week, we took delivery of a new word-processor and found ourselves muttering a number of words not to be found in its vocabulary. This machine of infinite self-satisfaction speaks no tongue but its own, and can never answer questions like "Why are you asking me to close documents I am not aware of having opened?"

Machines may have brains, if these really are only a "mass of electrochemical switches", but they are totally and boringly lacking in personality. If we had had a human teacher to explain our new machine to us last week, instead of a set of inflexible mechanical responses, we should not have missed the last post on Christmas Eve. I never cease to wonder at the naivety of scientists who keep on hoping that one day their dolls will turn out to be alive.