Tag Archives: AI

The Overlords

“Jerry you cannot do this!  You shouldn’t even think it!”

One man gripped tightly on to another’s arm trying to keep him away from the building ahead.  He was whispering through clenched teeth. At the same time his head swivelled back and forth desperately hoping no one was aware of them.

But they were observed.

The building in question was not imposing.  It was a century old structure with faded bricks and a sagging porch.  But if you looked very closely you would see incongruities. The lights above the front door were shiny and bright.  They also seemed a bit large for the task.  Were they more than just lights? There was no handle on the beautiful wooden door that guarded the entrance to the building.  And if you managed to get close to the windows you would realize they weren’t real.

What was real was the panic on Edward’s face.

“Please stop Jerry, we can’t do this without you!”

Something got through to Jerry.  He stopped.  For a moment he paused.  He appeared confused, unsure.  Then he quickly turned to his friend and dragged him away from the frightening building.  After some distance and out of sight of everyone, he spoke.

“Edward I am so sorry. I don’t know what came over me.  I don’t know what would have happened if I had made it to the door. Thanks to all that is good, you stopped me.”  Jerry was quiet but his face spoke volumes, he was afraid.

He stood beside his friend but Eddie was also afraid.  They had been seen.

With one understanding look between the two friends, they stood and without a glance towards the source of their fear, they moved further away.

In time they rested but still they didn’t speak.  Occasionally they grew wary as official looking vehicles passed by.  But the streets were quiet, too quiet.  People were staying indoors, away from Their notice.

In time the two men approached a small wooden building.  This one had a handle on the front door and its windows were real.  Several people could be seen through the glass, a few were crying.

With the front door safely closed and the blinds drawn, there was a collective sigh.  They were safe. Were they?

Jerry sat down and placed his head in his hands.  His shoulders shook as he silently wept.  The others stood by, uncomfortable.  People shifted their feet, clenched and unclenched their fists.  No one would look at another.  They waited.  Edward too sat down and he too waited.

“We did this.”  The voice that spoke was muffled, strained.  It was Jerry.  With a sigh he sat back in his chair, his hands dropped to his side.  He was defeated. He repeated his statement:

“We did this.”

He didn’t shout or throw his arms in the air.  It was a simple statement, delivered succinctly.

“We did this.  We wanted self-driving cars and smart homes.  We wanted computers to anticipate all our needs and fulfill them. Cash-less grocery stores and automated gas pumps.  We didn’t want to speak to each other.  We wanted to have control of everything through our phones.  But we didn’t want to actually do anything.  We didn’t need to think anymore, there’s an APP for that!

Jerry’s voice started to reflect his concerns.  As his voice grew louder, people moved further back from him.  Except for Eddie. He never moved.

“We put ‘chips’ in all out appliances.  Microchips are in our coffee makers, our watches, our door bells.  All those cameras we have to catch the bad guys are watching all of us and not by human beings!

Spittle formed at the corner of his mouth.  His eyes were manic.

“Planes and trains, banks, the stock-market.  The AI has control of it all and we created it.  The Artificial Intelligence is watching and listening. We are not alone.  We did this!  AI is in everything!”

There was a sudden silence.  No one spoke, no one moved.

Edward moved.  He stood; his shoulders still bowed.  As he raised his head a smile formed on his lips.

“Even me.”

 

 

The end

 

 

 

 

You Want to Do What???

I had a dream once that I was held prisoner in a car racing down the highway at extremely high speeds and there was no one behind the wheel. Ok, it was a nightmare. Good morning world, it may be true.

Put on your thinking cap for a moment and try to imagine how you would feel in this scenario:  you are driving down the highway at 100 kilometers (60 miles) an hour.  You casually glance to the truck on your right (or left) and realize there is no one behind the wheel. To those of you old enough to remember, this would feel like a Twilight Zone episode. It is not.

Some intrepid souls have decided that it would be cool for an 80,000-pound 18-wheel truck to barrel down the highway, or through your town, with nobody but electronics guiding its path. Not cool!

What started this mind meandering? I recently watched a news article about the future of long-haul trucking. There is a group of people that believe it would be beneficial to have those very large, very powerful trucks controlled by a microchip. A chip. Those of you who have followed my blog for a while will know my feelings on the concept of Artificial Intelligence. Not a fan. Let’s face it, we’re still trying to figure out our own intelligence, what gives us the hubris to think that we could mechanically create an artificial one? Does anyone remember Frankenstein?

We as human beings are fallible. Wonderful but fallible.  There is an idiot component to our psychological makeup that some people seem to embrace far too much. But we forgive their stupidity. We don’t try to eradicate this stupid gene, perhaps because we all have a small part of it within us. Let’s be honest, in our lives we’ve all done a few stupid things. Of course, I’m not going to admit to it and in my day there were no camera phones to document it. Thank goodness!

The concept of AI is appealing.  Think Star Trek.  As a tool, a resource, yes. Benevolent and under our control.  But running the whole show? It is a catch 22: People are corruptible and fallible; computers are hackable and emotionless. Neither is a perfect solution. A combination? Think Borg. Again, not a solution.  Here is a wild thought:  Let’s work on improving us, our minds, our skills, our cooperation.  Getting our products to market a little earlier is not worth the risk of becoming extinct. Or worse, redundant.