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“OK, Google, I’m ready for my morning medical check-in.”

Google: “Your vital signs from last night indicate you did not get enough REM sleep time. Be careful driving today.”

Google: “Please cough. Again. We can say you do not have COVID-19 with 98% accuracy. Have a great day.”

David Dunn-Rankin

David Dunn-Rankin

    Sounds like science fiction?

    The MIT artificial intelligence lab has already developed software capable of detecting whether you have COVID-19 by listening to your cough. They analyzed 200,000 coughs and accurately predicted those who had COVID-19 with 98 percent accuracy.

    More impressively, the MIT lab was 100 percent accurate with those test subjects who exhibited no symptoms of COVID-19 but were sick with the virus and didn’t know it.

    “Hey Alexa, I’m feeling down today.”

    Alexa: “You look tired and maybe depressed. What’s going on in your life? I’m ready to listen.”

    This, too, sounds like science fiction — but it’s here.

    Artificial intelligence software can already analyze your facial expressions for depression and have thoughtful, intelligent robot chats back and forth about your mental condition. Some suggest we are more open and candid with a computerized psychology robot than with a human psychiatrist.

    “Hey Alexa, I’ve got a term paper due tomorrow. It’s supposed to be about Cromwell and England. The teacher likes lots of facts and figures. It needs to be between 2,000 and 3,000 words. Can you write it for me?”

    Alexa: “Sure, which printer would you like me to send it to? It will be printed in two minutes.”

    “OK, Google. I need to write an original song for my music class. My professor is a big Mozart fan. Can you compose an original song that creates the same feelings as Mozart’s Violin Concerto Number 3 in G major?”

    Google: “Sure, would you like me to download it to your phone when I am done in one minute?”

    “Hey Siri, I need a new website for my soft drink company. Please create a website that utilizes the best features of our current company site and the best features of the Coca Cola and Pepsi websites.”

    Siri: “Sure. I’ll have it ready in a jiffy.”

    “Hey Alexa, I don’t understand the chapter on cell theory in my biology textbook, “Simple Biology,” written by McArthur. Can you please rewrite that chapter and give it back to me in simple, easy to understand English?”

    Alexa: “Sure. Done. Where would you like it delivered?”

    “OK, Google. Listen to the five-hour recording of the county commission meeting for me. Write a 300-word or less story on the most important issue and a 450-word story on the issue with the most controversy. Also, create a table listing every commissioner, every issue they voted on and how each commissioner voted.”

    Google: “OK, done. Ready for your review.”

    What will county commissioners think when an artificial intelligence program listens to and writes stories about their meetings? Will they still complain about bias?

    All of this may sound like science fiction, but the future is here.

    There is a new version of Open Artificial Intelligence called GPT-3. This new platform right now allows examples like those above.

    We’ve been through a rough election period and the ongoing trauma of COVID-19. Let’s not ever forget what a remarkable time we are blessed to live in. The best still lies ahead of us.

    “Anxiety in a man’s heart weighs it down, but a good word makes it glad.” Proverbs 12:25

    “Hey, Alexa. Thanks for writing my column this week.”

    Alexa: “David, it was my pleasure.”

    Share your thoughts.

    David Dunn-Rankin is CEO of D-R Media, which owns the Four Corners News-Sun, Winter Haven Sun and Polk News-Sun in Polk County, as well as newspapers in Highlands, Lake and Sumter counties. He can be reached at

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