Fred Rogers may seem like a strange subject for an AI-related blog post, but bear with me. Everyone knows Mr. Rogers from his long-running PBS show, Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. Fewer people know that he was an ordained Presbyterian minister prior to his television career. And fewer still know the quality of Fred Rogers that led me to write this post: namely, that he was a technological visionary.
You see, television was in its infancy when Mr. Rogers completed his education and was attempting to decide what to do with his life. When he saw television for the first time, he immediately recognized the new medium’s potential, both good and ill. The programming that greeted him definitely fell into the latter category. As he later recounted, with what is probably the closest Mr. Rogers ever came to betraying frustration and annoyance, “there were people throwing pies at one another.” In other interviews, he expressed dismay at the number of cartoons aimed at children that used violence as a method of entertainment.