John C. Dvorak: What’s Dumb About Computers Today

Written by John C. Dvorak

John C. Dvorak on what’s wrong with computers today.

The robots that now run our lives make oddball assumptions about things. But this one is a bit off the mark — to say the least.

For one thing I’m “John” not “Antonin.” You’d think they could get that much straight. Here’s everything that’s wrong with computers today encapsulated in just one screenshot.


  • Har!

    Howya doin’, Anton? Are you Bizet today? Don’t Liszt-en to them! Etc.etc.

    Very funny that Google went out to find a pic and came up with you instead. Google’s original appeal was that it tended to get the *intended* target instead of something one-dimensionally dumb like this. I remember searching for Lincoln for my kids for a school project, expecting to get the usual list of towns and cars before Abraham – and was pleasantly surprised to see Abraham’s listings at the top. Because their algorithm taught them that most people searching for “Lincoln” are looking for the president, because most are schoolkids on assignment.

    Or wait — If Google is making assumptions like that, maybe their algorithm knows that if someone is searching for Dvorak, they are far more likely to be looking for — everybody’s favorite grouchy columnist!

    It’s a compliment! A dumb one, but a real one — algorithm approved!

    Mac McCarthy

  • Do you mean, JCD, that the lack of human editors on these things has totally just screwed data reliability on indices like these? Which Android smartphone is this, BTW? gs

  • To understand why Dvorak is associated with John and not Antonin, it is important to know that John is still very much alive and Antonin isn’t. Also, John knows about computers and Antonin didn’t. Finally, Dvorak is probably one of only a few names that appear both in computer and music classifications.

    To have somewhat intelligent robots you’ll need linguistic aka contextual technology. It exists, but as a privileged observer of linguistic product evolution I don’t believe we are at a point where a computer really understands what it’s “saying”. If it would, it would realize it has made a mistake and correct it — although the latter isn’t sure; many humans who know they’ve made a mistake don’t correct either ;-).

  • Well, writing is an art form, like music, and JCD has been around long enough to qualify as being a classic in tech journalism, so listing him as a classical artist is not surprising. :-)