Wednesday, October 28

Technology and Emotions ~ Roz Picard ~ TEDxSF

Uploaded on Jun 10, 2011
Professor Rosalind W. Picard, ScD is founder and director of the
Affective Computing research group at the MIT Media Lab, co-
director of the Things That Think consortium, and leader of the
new and growing Autism & Communication Technology Initiative at
MIT. In April 2009 she co-founded Affectiva, Inc., where she serves
as chairman and chief scientist.
Picard holds a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering with
highest honors from the Georgia Institute of Technology, and
master's and doctoral degrees, both in electrical engineering and
computer science, from MIT. Prior to completing her doctorate at
MIT, she was a member of the technical staff at AT&T Bell
Laboratories. In 1991 she joined the MIT Media Lab faculty, where
she became internationally known for content-based retrieval
research, for creating new tools such as the Photobook system, and
for pioneering methods of automated search and annotation in
digital video.
She is the author of the award-winning book Affective Computing,
which was instrumental in starting a new field by that name. She
has authored 200 scientific articles and chapters and also holds
multiple patents. In 2005, she was honored as a Fellow of the IEEE.

It is downright smart to know God is real and lives right now, in you,

I hope she will forgive me for posting her message here.   There are many ways to reveal to someone you love... that they are slow to realize that God himself exists. At the age of 11 or 12, I had to testify in the Criminal Court:I was reminded that if I lied in that court... God would immediately
strike me dead. I came to realize years later... that many lied in court and never died.
I'm 82 now I know God by what I see him do; so if you are inclined to think that God is a fairy tale; I'm saying to you, it is ignorant to keep thinking your fairytale way. It is downright smart to know God is real and lives right now, in you, if you follow His commands. You will feel His love and His Son can heal you.

Professor Rosalind Picard said "I used to be a staunch atheist, in part because of living fourteen years in the South"


Professor Rosalind Picard
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Director of Affective Computing Research
Director of Autism Communication Technology
Co-Director of Things That Think
Professor of Media Arts and Sciences
M.I.T. Media Laboratory

I used to be a staunch atheist, in part because of living fourteen years in the South, in the so-called "Bible belt." I assumed that those who believed in a God had thrown reason to the wind. I could look around and see all kinds of uneducated people who were believers, and I thought the two went hand in hand. I believed religion was a creation of man, contrived by people who weren't strong enough to handle death. I assumed that faith was not intellectual or based on evidence, that religious people were not real thinkers, and that if they only thought hard enough, then they would see that their religion was unnecessary, invented to help themselves cope better. I thought my way, without any "God," was the truth, was scientific, and was therefore the best way.

The crux of my "hardest test", in deciding to believe in a God, was (and remains) pride. I never liked "religious people," still abhor religiosity, and did not want to be associated with such people or their beliefs, with any religious beliefs. It is easy to look around and see examples of people who are religious hypocrites, real religious bozos, who give religion a bad name. The media is great about finding these examples and holding them up for all to see. Particularly egregious examples claim "God made me do it" (when it is something horrible) giving religion an especially rotten image. Who wants to be a part of that? Why would anyone want to even be associated with all of that?

To make matters especially bad for Christian Public Relations, when Christians do their genuinely good deeds, they are encouraged to do so without letting anybody know. Usually, nobody but the recipient finds out about the kindness, and often the kindness is anonymous, so even the recipient is not told the source. Moreover, wealthy gourmet-fed elite who live in penthouses and control the media tend not to hang out with those who are on the receiving end of Christian charity, but they are sure to be called when there is a "story" of "wrongdoing" by those who "know they should not promote wrongdoing." Today, the media mainly points out the negatives, and there are plenty of those, so the unattractiveness of Christianity is made complete. (Note: There seem to be trends as to which religion gets treated worst; lately the media has been relatively kind to Buddhists and Jews, while it seems trendy to be hostile to Christians.)

I remember being annoyed when I learned that my atheism was also a "religion," and that there is really no such thing as not being religious, unless perhaps you're inanimate or turn off your brain totally when it comes to the great questions in life. Take the question of the existence of God. How could I confidently deny it, declare God couldn't exist, unless I was omniscient? But only God (if God exists) is omniscient. (See definition of God.) So, if I claim God does not exist, then I am claiming to be omniscient, and then I am making myself into God. This is a problem. (Especially if you know me.)

Isn't it interesting that the non-existence of God cannot be proven, and science and logic both fail when one looks closely at these issues.

This leaves open either agnosticism or belief in God. The rest of what was so hard for me is a longer story, which includes a recognition that there is a huge amount of historical and intellectual evidence for Christianity and for Judaism, e.g., see
a 15-min talk on this topic that I gave spring 1995. For example, the Judeo-Christian God is the only one that is revealed as transcending both time and space (a good property if you think about physics and the origins of the universe.)

This is not to deny that there is also a lot of crap associated with religion (see above). But it is unwise to throw out the baby with the bathwater, even if the baby poops in the tub and you are tired and mad at the baby. (I have 3 sons and speak from experience.) Better to hold on to that precious baby, and find a way to deal with the mess.

In brief, the hardest trials have been those of confronting my own pride, and my unwillingness to examine anything other then the materialist assumptions made (unthinkingly) by so many of us. Many of the assumptions, such as that there is no God, are not scientific, and have no way of being proven scientifically. Turning to Science as the only way to know things also does not work, because Science presupposes that there is only "natural" stuff in the world, without even having a way to test if that is true or not. (And who gets to declare that we know for sure what is and is not "natural?") Science cannot even validate its own existence. (Note for those who do not know me: I am not bashing science. I am a hard-core science fan; I chose to earn my doctorate in Science, not in Philosophy, and not just because the hood for the Sc.D. was my favorite color yellow, although that may have biased me a small amount. My point is that science should be recognized for the incredibly powerful and amazing field it is, and not more.)

In denying God's existence, I realized I was making assumptions that were unthinking and ill-founded, based on no deeper truths than those I sought to discredit. Nonetheless, the idiocy surrounding religion still made it very hard for me to want to investigate religious faith.

It wasn't until I met a number of impressive thinkers who were intelligent in their faith and defied my stereotypes of religious people that I began to open my mind to really consider what was there. Here were well-educated thinking engineers, mathematicians, scientists, writers, artists, athletes, and leaders who thought more deeply about these things than I had. (I have started a partial list of
famous Christian mathematicians, artists, and scientists. Sorry, I just included dead ones.) Have you thought deeply about whether or not God exists? How do you know what you believe is true? What if you are wrong? What difference have your beliefs made in your life?

Having thought nothing but ill of believers-in-God for so many years, you can imagine the tests I put faith to before I was willing to finally change my views. I'm not ready to list them all here, but suffice it to say I did not "become a Christian" overnight. I remain on a continuous path of learning.


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