This line from The Life of Brian by Monty Python sums up the need at the time for people to defer to machines, even when they did not understand what the machine was doing.
There is a lot of hype around AI right now. People have a sudden and strong conviction that on the immediate horizon computers will be able to do anything people can do.
This was summed up for me by a sign outside SpecSavers advertising their “styling technology”. It is not possible for a computer to tell you what glasses suit you, better than a person with a good eye for design.
Why do people want a recommendation from a machine? I think the answer lies in our need for cetainty. A person with a good eye will give you a better result than a machine but they won’t give you the same result as another person with a good eye.
Certainty over rightness is what the “machine that goes ping” sketch was all about.
Zoe is appearing in her one-woman show HOW TO DO ACTING (Properly) at theSpaceUK in August.
Buy Zoe's book An Actor's Life For Me online at Amazon.