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Justin Gorton

Although I agree with Pullum that IPhones are not as smart as we think they are, I cannot accept his overall conclusion that in reality, they are just stupid machines trying to predict your next move. Although I disagree with much that Pullum says, I fully endorse his notion that interface software is just a big frequency table trying to recognize your next sentence. Though I concede that computers are stupid because it takes one minute to upload a picture. There are many factors as to why it might take so long such as signal connection. He does not provide enough detail to his argument to make me change my opinion. This is why he is wrong, interface software is the future of our world, and everyone should embrace it fully.

Tabitha L.

In Geoffrey Pullum’s essay “Everyday Artificial Stupidity”, he argues the amount of reliability that we have on technology today and how it is effecting our intellectualism. Pullum explains when he writes, “Machines are great at data-searching and number-crunching in narrowly defined domains; but the user-interface software they currently use is artificial stupidity: canned announcements telling us to do things we’ve just done, boilerplate phrase blurred out pointlessly to nobody.”(Pullum) Basically Pullum is saying that technology is helpful in some cases but it is getting to the point that we are relying on them too much. We are relying on them to tell us simple things in life that are pointless because we just did it. For example he explains that humans are expecting their smart phones to know exactly what they are about to type. But in reality it’s just a frequency table that is used to help with word sequencing. Here many people would probably object to the fact that machines have become an important aspect of our society and that they are helping us with our daily lives.

By focusing on the reliability on the simple reminders, Pullum overlooks the deeper problem of society gaining better skills. Not only does he discuss the fact that we are constantly being reminded of simple thing like inserting money into a machine, but that we are learning. We are learning the process of the machine, learning to spell with auto correct or just being able to succeed in something quickly. An example of this would be current jobs like factories. By saying that society has “artificial stupidity” because of machines is overlooking the fact that we are actually learning from them.

Blogger Gorton states that software is becoming the future of our world. Not only are some computers stupid but that they have useful functions. I disagree that computers are stupid and agree that they will be the future. They are teaching us the skills we need to be prepared for the future. Just like Pullum overlooked the fact that it is important to society and helping us in a lot of aspects of life that aren’t as obvious. So I definitely disagree with Pullum that machines are the source for humans “artificial stupidity”.


In Arons article he writes about what the world today considers to be healthy and tasty. Aron makes this new menu item sound extremely unhealthy, and when given the health facts of this new food item, the belief that some people are willing to eat it is repulsive. The main manager of the McDonald's who had part in creating this new “ tasty treat” states that “he see anything on the [McDonald’s] menu that’s unhealthy.” When looking at the heath facts of each food on their menu there is so much fat content and a numerous amount of sugar in products. If you have ever seen the “movie supersize me “ there is a section of the movie where it tests the foods ability to stay “fresh” over time. The Mc fries don't decay at all after two months… how is that not healthy. All in all I find this new food that McDonald's has produced is unhealthy.

Anna Newton

I agree with Pullum's essay to a certain extent. He disagrees with the grocery store machines, and any machine that makes him feel not as smart. But really I think that they are fine, and help people out that are less technology savy as others. Growing up in this generation, it is all about technological advancement, but sometimes we forget that half of our population did not grow up with the slightest bit of advanced technology. I think the traditional algorithms are more useful, but as time goes by its going to transition to user interface software.

Carter Groomes

I believe that the essay written by Pullum is very controversial. He states his opinion from many points of view, but in the end he doesn't want a machine to outsmart him. I think that his point is accurate, humans should be the dominant race and we cannot allow technology to take us over. The only way this could happen is that if we let it happen. If the technology is not as smart as us then it is totally fine, up to the point where we are outsmarted. If we stick to our roots and algorithms we should be fine.


I feel that the use of technology is a intergeral part of life and it assists us in many ways. Such things as supermarket self checkouts are only a problem when the software doesn't work as it should. We as a race need to embrace technological advancement which may be more difficult for the older generation to get to grips with. If it wasnt for the continued developement of technology we wouldnt be aware of many things from a scientific point of veiw as we are, and as a result health care and treatments wouldnt be what they are today, which is a positive side to it. On a negative side there are also cyber theives that because of there technological ability are able to access peoples bank accounts etc and steal from them. I personally however think the benefits far outweigh the negatives.

Dylan M

what this article is trying to say is that we depend on technology way to much, we are so used to calculators doing math for us, that we don't even know how to do simple math in our heads. Are we getting dumber because of technology? is technology taking over our minds and the world? these are the questions we should ask our selves everyday, one day everything will be so advanced we wont be able to do anything on our own.

Jason Gideon

All of these comments sound like templates from the book transplanted directly onto this board (with minor changes in diction). They were very amusing to read, and I deeply appreciate the authors' collective efforts.
With that said, anything a linguist proposes about language I can understand and respect--though I don't suppose he'd know too much about technology.
Anyway, I believe that nothing is MAKING us more stupid, just like nothing MAKES us fatter; we musn't continue this bizarre blame game, scrambling to find an outside reason for our own decline.
WE make ourselves idiots. WE make ourselves obese (usually...but that's really a whole other debate).
It's really odd to me when people whine about their position in life or the state of their brains--after all, it was their OWN behavior that got them there in the first place. If I lose my job because I never come in on time, that's on me. In the same way, if I don't know a lot about U.S.-Taiwan foreign relations because I skimmed articles on the internet, that's ALSO on me. If I can't communicate effectively, make my ideas known and create honest soul-to-soul bonds with others because I'm a socially inept internet junkie, then THAT'S MY FAULT. Nobody else can take the fall for my behavior, man or machine.
I beg your pardon, I don't really feel too strongly about this subject; I'm just tired and procrastinating (which is also my fault).

Billy R

The argument in this article is a great topic, but its addressing the wrong thing because there is light missing in this argument. The author complains about the stupidity of technology when its not the technology that is to blame; it is, in fact, the programming. The projector screen, the checkout machine, the microwave; all of these items are programmed through standard digital electronics. Now, when I say digital electronics, I'm talking about a field of study and not solely digital programming as analog works in this category as well. The reason that the projector says minutes when there is only one and the reason that your microwave keeps beeping even though you've opened it is because it was programmed that way (also there are microwaves that do stop when you open it so this microwave may be a earlier model or it might just be a bad brand). In programming a utility, the programmer has to create conditions for things to work, like for the message on the projector. These conditions are made from lines of code that correlate with the circuitry or digital boards in the devices. Each line has a cost value because there are an amount of items that must be bought to allow things to operate properly when they set up the device. The average cost for the items can range from ten cents to twenty dollars and usually closer to the cheaper end. However, companies make thousands of these appliances and more every year, amounting to quite a lot. The real problem is not that technology is stupid, but rather that the quality of item used to create the programming for the devices is still in the progress of becoming more cost-effective for our society and that companies do not wish to go the extra mile for minor errors in their work. This is a great article because it calls people to wonder what is in their devices and to hopefully learn how they work. I hope this post helps shed some light to the article!

Billy R

@Jason Gideon
I really like your ideas on that and I think that everyone has their areas of knowledge and I like your idea that we are the ones that make ourselves smart or not and that the author appears to play the blame game a little. I like how you form a position on the article as well and gone a little farther than just analyze what the author is saying.


What this article is trying to tell us is the technology that we use daily is not as smart as we think it is. Some people think that technology will one day rule the world. In reality though, technology is only as smart as the person who is programming it. How do we expect it to take over when regardless of how it is programmed, it doesn't have the capacity to change on its own for logical response. One of the examples given is the elevator saying that it is going up even when no one is in it. While I agree with Pullum that these examples show how basic these machines were programmed, I do not think it fair to call them stupid.They are programmed to do simple things. It does not hurt for them to be continuous even when not needed.

I agree with Anna though when she says that simple examples help those who are not so tech savy. I like that she pointed out the fact that majority of our population grew up without all the technology today. Therefore it takes some a little longer to figure out the tech world.


I agree with Pollum in the notion that robots won't be able to dominate us. However, I do think his examples were irrelevant. He used the incompetence of household items making small grammar errors, however, not much thought goes into the programming of these devices because they are intended to be affordable and mass produced. He should have used an example such as Watson, the super computer that was on Jeopardy. While Watson could comprehend a lot more than the average computer, being able to answer jeopardy questions and all, it took a team of engineers to keep Watson running. Robots will always be dependent on humans, and that's why I think they will never dominate us, their ability to understand things is irrelevant.

Markus Barnett

While i agree with portions of this article, as it seemed to be leading into the direction that machines aree making us complacent and lazy, it was tough to read thru the author's clear attitude in the writing. Machines are not making us dumb, fast food doesn't make you fat, and being a certain race doesn't make you act a certain way. We, as human beings, have choices in nearly everything we do. Passing the blame off to an inanimate object or trope of people is the poor mistake in this article. We make the choice to overindulge in technology, we make the choice to eat too much fatty food, we determine our attitudes. Accept the blame for our own actions.


In "Artificial Stupididty" Pollum is saying that no matter how much technology advance it will never take over and dominate us. Even with all of the software out there computers still have not been able to "think". Computers have no ability to know what you are typing and understand what it is that you are typing. It simply tries to guess what word you will use next based on your previous imputes. Robots will always need some sort of human interaction to modify and adjust their programming.

durma cheriscar

When Pullum uses the words "stupid" or "stupidity" when it comes to describing everyday user-interface software he explains his reasoning by showing proof of his conclusion and they are adequate. the user interface software's we rely on everyday are constantly doing or saying things that are not intelligent or makes no sense, but its not caused they were programed wrong its simply because the software's are not aware of our day to day lives and situations. So I do not believe that Pullum was harsh in his comments because he was pointing out valid reasons on why the artificial world will never beat us humans.

Ishkov Peter

I partially agree with Pullum. He talks about technologies and artificial intelligent, and he argue that technologies helps us a lot; however, sometimes, there is too much help. The more humanity lives, the more it relies on technology. Machines that can produce thousands of operations per second, tell us obvious things such as “You have one new message,” says voicemail service; and then it says “Message One: … ”. However, if there is only one, you do not need to number them (Pullum). In addition, Pullum gives us another example with the elevator. Mostly he is right, but not in all. When machines give us addition or obvious information, it might be helpful for people with all sorts of diseases. It may even be useful for those who are simply distracted at the time of first notification. I also think that it is save power when developing these devices, and hence the price of the device will be more accessible. Pullum provide his idea very clear, and give us hyperlinks to all concepts than he mention in his essay.

Alicia Pina

I do give props on how Pullum does set good examples for how technology is configured. I mean, if I were to speak or write in a format like the electronics do now a days; I say it is ridiculous how we are criticized on how to write and use proper grammar; but a computer can have these many flaws to what they can say and get away with it. In my opinion if a geniuses can invent and put together these types of technology, then I say they can also reinvert the software to be like us and use proper writing and grammar like " you have a voicemail." or "Loading in 1 minute."


I think that technology like this is all well and good but that we must be careful of the dangers it presents.

Anna S.

Many of these comments bring up very good points, including the fact that some of these machines Pullum labels “stupid” are set up for all skill levels of technology, not just those who are fully competent with technology. While I do agree with Tabitha L. on this point, I think Pullum’s problem with the machine in the grocery store was not that he was given instructions on what to do, but that the machine did not output a phrase that responded to his action. Instead, this machine continued to follow its preset script. This is the stupidity he writes about, suggesting that these machines should have algorithms to react to different actions taken by the user instead of following one path. Billy R. makes the argument that it is not the technology’s stupidity, but the fault of the programmer. I agree that the programmer is to blame here, a point that needs emphasizing since many people still believe it is all the fault of the technology. Technology is only capable of following the instructions it is given, so if it is told that “minutes” is the correct word when one minute remains until the projector boots up, that is the word it will use. This validates Pullum’s claim that machines will never be able to talk to us in our own language since they are reliant on a programmer who makes simple codes with mistakes like “minutes” when there is only one left.


Pullum argues against the standard's of today's views, calling smartphones like th iPhone machines that dumb us down and ruin our brains. I agree with Justin Gorton's statements in his post; he makes valid points that analyze Pullum's article while also incorporating his own views. I fully believe that technology such as mobile phones and user interface software do way more good than harm, and as a Computer Scientist I believe it is my duty to make the world a better place through technology. I also agree with Gorton's claim that Pullum does not have enough information to support his claim, as the article calls UI and iPhones harmful and toxic, without much reason as to why this claim is made. I agree with Gorton's arguments against Pullum's article, and agree that Pullum needs more argument and evidence to support his point.

Ying Hong

Geoffrey Pullum offers sufficient examples from everyday life to demonstrate that he believes artificial intelligence is stupid. As far as I am concerned, artificial intelligence is developing rapidly since now we have so many computer science experts. However, since it is a new industry, it still needs more development to be advanced. Experts need to keep update with consumers’ feedback in order to fix the problems and figure out how to update the artificial intelligence system. However, some people view that artificial intelligence should be omnipotent and do everything for humans. It is not possible, for now. Artificial intelligence is only a tool that provides convenience to complete our jobs. It does not have human brains, so it can only do some basic work such as processing data for people, which to some people, is stupid. These people are recommended not to have too much high expectations for artificial intelligence since it still needs to be developed and improved. Instead, it is necessary that people pay more attention to the history of development in artificial. As a consequence, people will be astonished and amazed by its rapid development. Today, it can do more things than we ever thought about. Also, it stimulates many new industries to emerge, which provides a large number of employment opportunities for people. Dated back to 20 years ago, we did not have smart phones. However, almost everyone has a smart phone now, which is inevitably become a necessity of our everyday life. People find it hard not to use smart phones even for a day. People need it to connect to the outside world. People cannot live without artificial intelligence now, but we should have more patience in waiting for its development. Therefore, it is not wrong to have expectations for artificial intelligence since we need it in all aspects of like. We need to be patient and wait for its development.

Augustus Chinlund

Has anyone on this "page" received Hopi prophecy or are hip to the Mayan calendar. If not you are out of the "loop". I am amazed at how unawake humans are now. But, you see, that is also prophecy. Language and technology fall way short. Only a change in the stories we create for ourselves will actual peace and transcendence be born on Mother Earth. We shall see, very soon.>>> NOW and zen. Ciao.

augustus chinlund

I disagree Ying Hong. We are weak and too dependent on this garbage. Mining silica for these devices is killing people. Byebye humans.

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