This past Friday Dave Fischer and his wife were watching Reid Hoffman—slacks, jacket, open-collared dress shirt—discussing artificial intelligence with Trevor Noah on a day-old Daily Show on Dave and Celestes big TV in their living room. A couple minutes into the interview, Fischer, considerably impressed, though cautiously impressed, with what he took to be Hoffmans clear headedness and good heartedness, paused the video and reached over from his La-Z-Boy recliner to retrieve his Samsung smartphone from where it rested atop the closed keyboard of Celestes console piano. Fischer said, Watch this. He pressed once, swiped once, tapped once, lightly touched the microphone icon on his screen, and whispered, Net worth of Reid Hoffman. In the next instant after Fischer spoke those words they appeared in print upon his phone screen with the name correctly spelled and properly capitalized. In very nearly the same instant a female voice from the phone presented a presumably reliable estimate of Mr. Hoffmans net worth. The amount appeared also in print, black on white upon the screen, contributing perspective, Fischer believed, to the facts and opinions that Mr. Hoffman was providing in the television interview.
Press, swipe, tap, touch, and whisper. My, my, but that phone frequently proves smart, indeed.
When Fischer clicked a mouse, Mr. Hoffman and Mr. Noah resumed their conversation. Fischer marveled at the intelligence they displayed, artificial and the old fashioned kind.