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“There is nothing so deranged as a man in the depths of an ether binge.” – Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas
I hear an angst-filled teen robot is called a sigh-borg.
Artificial Intelligence may be taking us down the path to Civil War.
Artificial Intelligence is upon us. To be clear, there’s little likelihood that A.I. in 2020 is conscious in any way that would be recognized by a human even though it has exceeded human ability in things like “playing” chess and “not forgetting to pick up Pugsley at school for three hours in winter.” A.I. doesn’t need to be conscious to be amazingly useful. Even in its limited form it is already important to the economy, and becoming more important every year. Here are some ways that A.I. impacts us here and now:
- Shipping – from individual route selection to package delivery schedule, no single package is managed by an individual until the UPS guy pulls it off of the truck and walks to your door. The rest of it is scanned and the delivery path is optimized by computer as the delivery guy drops it at the wrong house. I wonder why my neighbors needed all that latex and baby oil?
- Shopping – Amazon™ (or any other retailer I purchase from with consistently) knows my buying patterns as well as I do. Is it super accurate at picking things that I’d to buy? Yes and no. I went to the site to give an example of a ludicrous suggestion. And I bought a book instead. (Darn you Allie! Whatever you do, don’t go to her website and read it (LINK) the hilarious chapter from her new book because then you’d blame me if you bought it.) Then I went back to Amazon® to look for a bad purchase suggestion and bought yet another book. So, it beat me tonight.
I hear even A.I. is having to deal with LGBT stuff – they keep talking about trans-sisters.
- Banking – three years ago I got a text from my credit card issuer – they thought a purchase charged to the card was fraudulent. It was. The A.I. was smart enough to realize that I probably wasn’t in Chicago at 4 A.M. on a Monday morning buying $300 sneakers. And, no, Amazon® didn’t recommend them to me.
- Advertising – the websites I go to feature personalized ads meant to match my interests, but yet no human ever made the decision of what ads to place there – it was all based on the profile they’ve built of me. This might explain why they assume I need binoculars, dehydrated “survival” food, duct tape, a machete, and a subscription to “Sour Patch Kid®” candy of the month club.
- Job Search – résumés of job seekers are submitted based on A.I. recommendation to be read by the A.I. that the hiring company bought to read them. People are being rejected for jobs by computer programs. I suppose it’s better than the future when unemployment claims are kept low by use of the Terminator® HRBot 3000.
A Terminator makes a really bad sales clerk. Whenever anyone asks where something is, they always say, “Aisle B, back.”
- Journalism – simple stories such as football or baseball game descriptions have been written by A.I. for years. One could argue that any intelligence at the Washington Post® or New York Times™ has been artificial for decades.
- Social Media – Twitter® and Facebook™ and YouTube© are carefully calibrated to maximize use engagement to maximize company profits. And they’re the companies that are causing all of the problems.
The easiest emotions to get engagement on are: fear, outrage, and anger. The reason is that it’s easier to make someone mad than it is to make their day better. Sure, we love “I can has cheezburger” cat, but to get people to click you need to get them scared or mad.
What emotions do you think the A.I. amplifies? Yup.
Fear, outrage, and anger.
It’s also sad when your navy can be defeated by asking it to identify which pictures contain a stop sign.
If A.I. has a profile of you that can select what t-shirt you’re most likely to buy, what else does it know? Well, it knows what your ideological profile is. It knows what stories resonate with that ideological profile, and will make you mad. Then? It shows them to you.
The motivation isn’t evil. The motivation is entirely neutral. The A.I. is there to make profits for Twitter©. Since it makes money for employees and investors, people will stop you from turning it off (to paraphrase Scott Adams from a recent podcast). Their 401k’s depend on the A.I. making money for them. I think Glenda from Accounting would slit your throat if you killed the goose that made the golden 401k. And the stock options!
But this A.I. behavior reflects back into human behavior even beyond Glenda from Accounting’s bloodlust for anyone who messes with her 401k. A.I. is also making divisions show up in the country.
Let me give an example:
A.I. was great at feeding polarizing videos on YouTube™. Up until a year or two ago, YouTube© was great at giving me a list of suggested videos that were farther and farther Right. Then, the great purge started. Content creators of any degree of popularity were banned, forever, if they were on the Right for no particular reason that YouTube© would share. Alex Jones was among the first banned, which is strange because he’s like the WWE® of radio hosts.
Sean keeps his pistol in his library. It’s for shelf defense.
The Right has stayed, from an ideological standpoint, in about the same place for the last 30 years. The Left, especially since 2004, has moved wildly Left.
Was A.I. to blame for all of that Leftward movement? No. There are other factors at play – especially a demographic shift of population with a huge influx in immigrants that come from countries that are all further Left than the United States. Why they want to escape their Leftist hell-holes and then vote for Leftism here is beyond me.
But A.I. certainly pushed people who were leaning Left, farther Left.
So, A.I. can change people by surrounding them with a nice, warm Leftist echo chamber. In what might be worse, A.I. is likely no longer just changing people, it’s changing events because that echo chamber exists.
Let’s take St. Louis, when Mark and Patricia McCloskey defended their own property. Most people who reviewed their actions who have a legal background have said everything they did was clearly lawful.
Not an original. Is this all the Terminator that 2020 could give us?
An elected prosecutor, Kimberly Gardner, charged Mark and Patricia McCloskey with felonies. What amount of A.I. inspired Twitter®-fueled hate-rage against the McCloskey family resulted in her having the courage to file the charges? It feels like to me, that online rage influenced her in some fashion. It probably doesn’t hurt that Ms. Gardner’s election was funded in part by George Soros’ foundations, but even one of Soros’ creatures knows they need to get votes in an election year.
To what extent is the decision of the District Attorneys around the country to release violent rioters aided by a compliant A.I. that feeds the idea that arsonists are, somehow, freedom fighters? People on the Right generally shake our heads in confusion as blatant criminals are charged with only the most minimal of charges yet bail for Kyle Rittenhouse is set, in cash, at $2 million dollars?
If the goal of the Left was to destabilize the country, causing everyone to lose faith in the justice system is a great start. But none of that is the goal of A.I. It doesn’t care. If an A.I. was programmed to make shopping carts, and turned the entire planet into a big ball of shopping carts orbiting the Sun, well, mission accomplished! A.I.s simply do not care.
Meanwhile, use of A.I. tech helps Google™, Twitter®, and Facebook© reach record stock prices. The big danger is that the forces of polarization and the actions that the various A.I.s unleash gets out of control. It’s not like those A.I.s are designed to realize that they’re destabilizing an entire country in a way that might lead to the most destructive war the United States has ever been a part of.
But, hey, those guys at Twitter still have stock options, right?