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Windmill for March 14, 2024

By PP Mark Rogo, Chairperson Diane Good Fan Club, Westwood Office

At 12:30, our Club meeting was started with the traditional ringing of the Rotary bell, by our esteemed President 2x Steve Day. He reminded us of the RI theme of “Create Hope in the World”.

PP Tom Barron, (the man, the myth, the legend), introduced his good friend and our guest speaker, Michael K. Grace. He comes loaded with graduate degrees as far as the eye can see, including a Rotary International Scholar recipient in 1982, but to law school, which is what he practices today. His wife is also a lawyer and Tom’s niece, so the firm is Grace & Grace.


Michael started by thanking us for our generosity as Rotarians, for his scholarship to study law in France. He was the only American in the law school there, with the highest grade in the whole school in one course: English!

Michael calls Artificial Intelligence a “misnomer”. His 5-week course in law school in Rome includes addressing the very basics; who owns it, who controls it. He used ChatGPT 3.5 with the prompt “address Rotarians on Artificial Intelligence” and proceeded to read it. It was a “yada yada yada”speech. It was not written by a person.  

He made the observation that Baby Boomers and Millennials look at their phones differently; we as a tool to use for communication and the millennials as another person. It caught most of our members by surprise, but we all agreed it was a poignant observation.

 “Artificial intelligence has a great potential as a tool for thinking people”.  You are dealing with an algo rhythm, not a person. In its most simplistic form, that is what AI is; an algo rhythm.

 He tells his students to think of AI as a tool and not as a person. Using the process of digging a hole as an example, Michael pointed out that the shovel is merely a tool to dig a hole. AI is the same thing. The shovel has no feelings or moral convictions. It’s strictly a tool.

 Progress includes certain industries suffering from the changes that technology brings, such as buggy whip makers when autos were introduced. Changes made will always have negative effects, but they will always pale in comparison to the positive changes made in society.

 AI has amazing possibilities, but it should never change who we are as human beings. It should not change our virtues, respect for each other as human beings, morality of right and wrong (good and evil). 

 As a further example, Michael used the prompt “Spring poem” in ChatGPT and in less than a second, received four poems, reading one of them. “It’s a way to start”. “The artistry part comes from the human person who finds meaning in what is said. AI has no sense of meaning because it is not human.”

 PPx2 Marsha Hunt (sigh) asked if someone in a different part of the country used the same prompt, would they get the same response, Michael answered that it depended on the algo rhythm. Or also at the time of the day, your location, etc.

 AI performs billions of tasks in a second. We don’t do that because we are fixated on a goal or focus. It’s one of the things that sets us apart from the AI world. It only works with vast power of programming and without any focus.

 PP Steve Scherer asked whether it all started from a computer made by man, or a different computer known as our “brain”. 

 Michael questions “if the machine understands what it is doing. Of course not. It’s a machine”. And he adds that AI is in three categories. There is a very narrow search which is much quicker than the human mind. The next level is general AI, performing a human task that we don’t want to do, such as automatically driving of car, which we don’t have yet. The final part of AI “strong AI. This is when AI would have human-like tranches with human consciousness. Michael feels it will always be a myth, it cannot replicate a human being and will never be successful at that.

 “Intelligence is unique to human beings.” We process of what is going on in the world to make sense of it.” We integrate the input from all our senses to make sense of what is going on in the world.

 Michael opened the floor to questions with only 5 minutes left.

Computers are tools with no purpose or intentionality, but they do what they are told.”

 PP Steve Scherer questioned whether this can be viewed as a religious issue. Michael agreed it did, stemming our differences in development as a collection of atoms versus developed software.

 Michael wanted to mention something about ownership. “Who owns this stuff?” or “Who owns the output?” The answer is quite confusing. Only a person can own a patent or trademark or intellectual copyright. So, at this time no one owns any of the output. In China it is seen as the person who built the algo rhythm, which Michael thinks makes sense. In the UK it Is ownership to the machine itself.

 Michael is an exceptional speaker who is well versed on his topic. PPx2 Steve suggested we invite Michel to come back. Tom Barron wants to get a haircut first.

New Club members gathered before the meeting for a sit-down with Club member Nevin Senkin, to hear a summary of Global Grants, and the International Avenue of Service, which she chairs.

Big Shout out to Phil Gabriel read the Four-way test, Bill Roen and Jim Crane were our greeters today. PPx2 Steve Day led the Pledge for Sean McMillan and, PP Tom Barron gave us the Thought of the Day. By showing us a video of young babies looking through glasses for the first time and the looks on their faces when they see their mother’s. Absolutely priceless. 

PP Ed Gauld led us in our “Song of the day” “Take me Out to the Ballgame,” in recognition of the start of baseball. (I’ll be at the Dodger season opener on Thursday, playing hooky for our Rotary meeting. But I need a date for the Saturday 6;10PM game – does anyone want to join me?)

 PP Tom Barron introduced his wife Margot of 57 years.

 PPx2 Steve showed everyone the Club calendar his significant other Marsha Day put together for our terribly busy Club. And we do have a busy Club. See Announcements!

PPx2 Steve Day adjourned our meeting at 1:32pm. Once again, our lives were enriched, and the world is a better place because District 5280 Treasurer PP Gordon Fell was there!

  • We are going to have our first hybrid meeting next week (Thursday, March 28th) using the Owl, giving our remote members an opportunity to attend our meeting via the internet. "Best of both worlds" says our President. But meeting remotely rather than in person.

  • April 27th Rotarians at Work Day cleaning up the beach at Sunset at PCH from 9-11am. Please register on the district website.

  • May 3rd - Dodger Baseball game with the district. You can obtain tickets on the District website.

  • May 3rd to 5th - District 5280 Conference, downtown at the famous Biltmore Hotel. Registration is now open on the district website.

  • Monday, May 13th - RI President Gordon McInally's luncheon at the Beverly Hills Hotel. Plan to attend and purchase your ticket on the District website.

  • May 19th, Sip and Sea wine tasting at PP Chris Rose Gaynor's home.


  • March 28th: with our very own loveable PP Tom Barron at Hillel! This will be WVRC's first Hybrid meeting.

WVRC 2023/2024 Leadership Team

President: Steve Day

President Elect: Benjamin Fisher

Vice President: Currently Opened

Treasurer: Terry M. White

Youth/Vocational Service: PP Diane Good

Director/Peace: PP Marsha Hunt

Foundation: PP Gordon Fell

Global Scholarships: PP Chris Bradford

Webmaster: PP Ron Lyster

District Governor: Makiko Nakasone

Immediate Past President: Chris Gaynor

Secretary: PP Nancy McCready

Community Service: David Strover

International Service: PP Nancy McCready & Nevin Senkan

Director: PP Tom Barron

Membership: PP Mark Rogo

Director/Social Media: PP Aly Shoji

Sargent at Arms: Jim Crane

Windmill Editor: Teya McCockran