Presence of Mind

“If only I’d had the presence of mind to” obviously enters my thoughts when it is too late to do or say what would have been an appropriate response to a situation at hand. Usually it’s a string of words to undermine or belittle me or my efforts – one of those smarmy statements intended to release its true meaning at the same rate the speaker makes an exit.

But what’s a clever comeback without an audience? I don’t know the proper translation of the twitches of my cat’s ears when he hears my delayed retorts. Is he saying, “Well, if you want a punch in the nose, say that. Go ahead.” Or does he mean, “You wanna sound like a bloomin’ idiot?” Or maybe he is thinking, “They’ll haul you away for that one. What will they think of you?”

I have always been slow thinking of sarcastic cuts, till lately. When I was younger,  that filter, “What will they think of you?” created a maze my thoughts worked through before they found the words they needed. As I get…more experienced….I care less about that than once upon a time. I have the words quickly now, to undermine and belittle at the same intensity I feel either, but the difference is that now I DO care what I think about myself.

Now I pat myself on the back for thinking of an equally potent comment, and then pat myself again for ‘having the presence of mind’ to keep my mouth shut. But a dilemma looms. I recently read that Artificial intelligence (AI) is on the brink of creating a way for my devices with internet access to cue in to my thoughts – when I talk to myself – to get information from that device. AI ALREADY seems to ‘listen’ more than it should…seeming to make more prevalent additional info about topics I have been thinking about and researching, predicting need based on my habits. So soon it won’t need to see my search history. AI will just listen to the voices in my head.

How long will it be before AI listens to the voices in my head and responds to the voices in yours? Will my mind  be present at all? 

“Be silent and be thought a fool, but speak your mind and remove all doubt.” Do we stop AI, if that’s even possible, or do we applaud its advances? Does it matter? Are we fools regardless?

About Teresa Pearson Lee

Retired after 33 years of teaching English and French (one year in private school in Memphis, TN and the rest in public school in Doniphan, MO. Enjoying new adventures - all those things I put off for lack of time, energy, now I can try them! Pottery, writing, traveling, camping, kayaking, dancing, listening to some of the best live music ever, and making lively new friendships. All christened with an appreciation for great red wine! Created and operated KC's on the Current, then sold it and managed it for new owners. You might still find me at the reservation desk when spring rolls around. Born and raised in St. Louis, MO near The Hill. Though a transplant to Southeast Missouri, still a city gal at the core with a deep love of the natural resources in these Ozark foothills. Currently I am a content coordinator for Poplar Bluff Living Magazine and a columnist/stringer for the local weekly The Prospect News. My rescue Siamese helps with most of the proofreading; he has a great ear. I relish the solitude easily had in the Mark Twain Forest but thoroughly enjoy lively outings for music, wine, conversation close to home or in my beloved hometown. Technology is my greatest challenge but so worth the shared connections. There may be a need for solitude but there is little loneliness. The material in this blog written by Teresa Lee is her property and cannot be used without express written consent to do so.
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