Use Your Head


Johann Sebastian Bach, the German musical genius of the Baroque period was born March 31, 1685. That means he’d be 334 years old at the end of this month. That’s a long time to be popular in the music world, but listen to the Brandenburg Concertos and you’ll understand why he’s still a household name. To mark the anniversary of Bach’s birth, Google created a clever way to interact with this long-deceased musical maestro.

If you click on their home-screen doodle, it takes you to an interactive composition program. A simple interface allows you to compose a few bars of melody. Push a button marked “harmonize” and a few seconds later you get your own Bach composition. What you hear played back approximates what it would have sounded like if Bach were the composer. AI or Artificial Intelligence was used to analyze the harmonies of 307 Bach compositions. The program applies what it learned about Bach’s harmonies to your melody. Sue and I played with it for a while. Sue’s melodies actually sounded like Baroque compositions. My melodies … not even Bach could help. Mine were just ‘Broke’ compositions.

We live in amazing times. Computers can analyze mountains of data and predict outcomes with astonishing accuracy. I’ve heard there’s a program where you input some basic info about your spouse, and it will compose a personal sonnet in Shakespearian style. Another AI program downloads and analyzes chat patterns from cyberspace to bring your deceased loved one back to virtual life. You chat with the AI program and receive comments, advice and encouragement back that sound eerily personal. I think social media has gone too far.

We’re wowed by computers, but they still can’t match the human brain. One of the fastest supercomputers on the planet is the Tianhe-2 in Guangzhou, China. It can do 54 quadrillion calculations per second. The human brain clocks in at a billion-billion calculations per second. In 2014, scientists tried to match the processes that happened in one second in one percent of the human brain. It took their supercomputer 40 minutes to complete that many calculations.

Use that amazing brain God gave you to soak in and analyze His amazing Word. If Jesus is your Savior, then you also have the help of the Holy Spirit in understanding what you read. With repetition you can begin to know and even predict with accuracy what God would have you do in the life situations that confront you.

This is what the LORD says: “Let not the wise man boast of his wisdom or the strong man boast of his strength or the rich man boast of his riches, but let him who boasts boast about this: that he understands and knows me, that I am the LORD, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight,” declares the LORD. Jeremiah 9:23–24