Will Callum ever learn to drive?

Wed 13th March 2019 at 12.50 - 14.00

John Christie wonders if his grandson will

The Rotary Club of St Andrews was asked a strange question by member John Christie at their recent lunchtime meeting.

“ Will Callum ever learn to drive?” suggested several possibilities, until John explained that Callum was his Grandson and only 15 months old. The question was really asking, by the time Callum becomes 17, will the car be doing all the driving?

John suggested that such was the pace of technical development, it is hard to envisage just how different things will be, in just a short time. He quoted Alexander Graham Bell as saying on his invention of the telephone that “ he could envisage the day when every city in America will have one”! Now everyone has one in their pocket.

Computers, lap tops and smart phones are developing at such a rate that for example, Amazon Inc expect to have no queues for checkouts in the near future as visual computers monitor our purchases as we walk around the store and take payment from phone which we show on entry. Another example is Alpha Go-Zero, which was programmed to learn to play chess by monitoring earlier versions and has become so good that it now not only beats human Chess world champions but the machines it learned to play from.

In education and medicine such are the scale and depth of developments, taking place, that it asks difficult questions as to what we should be teaching our young people in the future and perhaps more concerning what will humans be left to usefully do?

In his vote of thanks Rotarian Colin Brown, thanked John for his fascinating, provocative talk and for delivering it with good humour, excellent supporting detail and a lovely picture of young Callum.   

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