Michael D. Moberly
My ‘lunar landing 101 class’ that I held on the early evening of July 20, 1969 with a small group of Vietnamese rice farmers occurred deep in the Central Highlands of then, South Vietnam before heading out on a nightly ‘ambush’. I informed my ‘audience’ in an undecipherable language, that ‘GI’s are on the moon tonight’ naming each NASA astronaut (Armstrong, Aldrin, and Collins) were the first humans (Americans) to reach the moon’s surface.
I, and my company of paratroopers (C/503/173d Airborne Brigade) were engaged in Bin Dinh Province (central highlands) of Vietnam, far removed from anything even remotely resembling modernity. On this day and in proximity to our location, there stood, perhaps three to four mud-walled, dirt floored, thatched roof structures which we referred to as ‘hooches’ with a common water well. Water wells, by the way, often included concealed side tunnels dug by Viet Cong which wove their way into larger caverns where weapons, ammunition, and rice may be stored along with hiding untold numbers of our adversaries.
As the sun descended to darkness on that day, with a bright moon, and visible stars in the sky, I stepped away from the (night) ambush-defensive position our squad had established. My purpose was to engage cautiously and quietly the inhabitants of the hooches, i.e., Vietnamese rice farmers, in tortured GI talk, complete with the usual repertoire of ‘Americanized’ charades, i.e., hand gestures, facial expressions, and body movements, to try to inform them that tonight, pointing toward the moon, two GI’s were walking on the moon.
After multiple attempts, I sensed ‘my class’ may be acknowledging the gist of what I was endeavoring to communicate. I sensed this because my words were met, in typical fashion, with giggling, making their ‘beetle-nut’ decayed teeth very visible as it had hundreds of times before
I personally chose, as usual, to interpret their giggles to represent a continuum of mocking and understanding. Never-the-less, I sensed, as I kept pointing to the moon while engaged in my charade filled communication attempt, there was perhaps, some minimal understanding – comprehension occurring. That was late July 1969, and I am confident, those five Vietnamese rice farmers who were the recipients of my attempt at describing this truly historical and technologically advanced event have, no doubt, passed, carrying with them little, or no recollection of the evening of July 20, 1969 when a confident 18-year old paratrooper from Terre Haute, Indiana told them ‘GI’s were on the moon’!
China’s plan for a new generation of artificial intelligence…
Paradoxically, on Thursday, July 20, 2017, China’s State Council released their ‘New Generation of Artificial Intelligence Development Plan’. Artificial or machine intelligence to growing percentages of Americans and Chinese citizens are becoming variously familiar.
Paradoxically again, I recall a Fall 2005 business trip to Shanghai, China when, what my wife and I presumed would, in China by then, be a wholly computerized and ‘keystroke speed’ process, i.e., convert USD to RMB at a Chinese bank. Instead, it would ultimately require the aid of a concierge, multiple bank personnel, and 40+ minutes for such a presumably routine transaction to be executed. The currency conversion was entirely, with perhaps one or two procedural exceptions, insofar as what I could observe with my face-eyes pasted to the teller’s window, a ‘hands-on, paper intensive-dependent’ process.
So, the plan China announced in July 2017, describes governments’ aspirations for sustained investments in technology and how those investments intend to cultivate positive outcomes in an ecosystem of government, economics, and academe. Another claim of China’s plan is that it will drive breakthroughs in machine (artificial) intelligence, a subject addressed in this blog previously, but, in intangible asset contexts.
China is no U.S. and the U.S. is no China…To be sure, China is no United States, and the United States is no China. That said, being somewhat familiar with China’s approach to strategic planning and executing on its various strategic economic policies, I suspect there will be numerous competitive and lucrative benefits that will manifest as greater stability and sustainability. Should the U.S. (government) articulate, advocate, and remain focused ‘beyond 140 characters’ on the intangible asset outcomes of an aggressive and competitive machine (artificial) intelligence industry commitment, that would be good as well.
…the person who elects not to read has little or no advantage over the person who cannot read! (Variously attributed to Samuel Clemens, adapted by Michael D. Moberly.)
October 2, 2017 St. Louis firstname.lastname@example.org ‘A business intangible asset blog where attention span really matters’!