Friday, November 8, 2013

Please Slow Down Artificial Chaps!--By Ndaba Sibanda--Saudi Arabia

Please Slow Down Artificial Chaps!

               they say
artificial intelligence is moving faster than humans
     and sooner than later it is likely that
          robots will be smarter than us
the end of the century—not just at chess or mathematics
or engineering or science and medicine but at everything
               they say
there might be a few jobs left for entertainers and writers
     but computers will ultimately be able to sequence
and gobble up massive quantities of information and reason
in ways that we humans can only faintly imagine
               some say
we should not fear a mere darkness without leopards because
these machines are created by humans and should they fool
          themselves by trying to outsmart us at every
               corner we simply unplug them!

Ndaba Sibanda is a Zimbabwean-born writer. His poems, essays and
short stories have been published in Africa and the USA. Ndaba
currently lives and teaches in Saudi Arabia. Of his career, he
says, "writing is my life, and my second wife".


  1. Hello Ndaba,
    Your poem struck a chord with me. Many people are losing their jobs because computers can do the work they did. With a high unemployment rate, we are learning that computers cannot give a personal touch that only humans can. In college I wrote a poem about a man who was replaced by a machine and he proceded to blow up the factory where he had worked for 33 years. Today we even have "self check-outs" at stores, taking jobs away from friendly people who made it a pleasure to shop there. Very intuitive writing, Ndaba. I guess things are the same where you live. Best wishes, Carolyn Devonshire

  2. Hello Carolyn. Thanks for sharing with us your experiences and ideas. We are already playing second fiddle to them in some workplaces. It is evident that with the advent of computers, people are losing jobs and the human touch cannot be derived from machines. In fact, experts say the challenge is bigger than that. There is a raging debate about the possible threat of artificial intelligence to human existence. As human beings , l don`t think , at any stage in human development we should be held at ransom or be slaves to our mere electronic creations. Is it worth such creativity if we were to become extinct or held in perpetual bondage by machines?

  3. Dear Ndaba -

    It is a frightening and stark poem you write. Fiction - non fiction - the lines are blurred. Dr. Frankenstein, had no idea. Aside from your thought-provoking thoughts, the clarity of your language. I love the line about entertainers and writers. However I don't have the patience to write without my Microsoft Word. Oh the irony. Thank your for such wonderful commentary.


  4. Dear Ndaba and Carolyn,

    I was one of those people whose job was replaced by a new computer system. I can really relate to this discussion. Thank you both for all the support and encouragement you give others at Whispers. I greatly appreciate it.


  5. Ndaba,

    I am again blessed by your written words. Your poem gives us some truths that we need to consider, especially with all the current technology and that technology that is being developed. A delightful read here. Thank you for sharing.


  6. Very well written highlighting a tech age demon that few of us know very well. One of my sons has a PHD in Computer Schience with a specialty in Artificial Intelligence. I learn a little from him.

  7. Thank you, Christine Tate, for the following comment--

    Hi Ndaba. I enjoyed reading your poem. Seems we cannot keep up with technology, and as things advance and machines and robots take over the jobs of people, I thought what you said was so perfect. "unplug them". Great message! Thanks for the smiles...

  8. Loved your observations about computers. I smiled at the ending words, just unplug them" . Perfect ending to a perfectly delightful poem. Thank you.

  9. A sobering write, for I worry that we will leave ourselves with no means of income if we continue down this route. Too much already has been taken from our need to perfect robotics... To think that in the UK we have now even got 0 hour contracts just so through shared work hours everyone can do a little and decrease the job queue numbers which is idealistic only in principal for we do need still survive let alone live! So having raised these thoughts maybe in some ares already it is as you say time to pull that plug? Thank you for sharing this interesting/timely subject in your poetry!

  10. Thank you, Jack Clubb, for the following comment--

    There is a lot of food for thought in this poem, but if machines learn how to stop us from pulling the plug, what then? Robots may outsmart us in the end.

  11. That you for all your insightful comments.