Echidna Media Organization project S.N.A.L. (emo_snal) wrote,
Echidna Media Organization project S.N.A.L.

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I, Brobot

   The big tech news last week was that the new google AI can call in a reservation for you and sound exactly like a human, complete with "umms" and pauses as if indecisive. And apparently people thought this was creepy, though I don't really see what is creepy about that. Not the mere fact that one can talk to a computer and not realize one is doing so anyway, but the larger ramifications of what the people behind the technology are going to inevitably do with it.

   The kind of companies that have a use for telemarketers are no doubt already slavering to fire their telemarketers en masse to replace them with an AI phone voice seemlessly connected to google analytics. Instead of receiving a phone call from someone in Calcutta with an obvious Indian accent who might at best be awkwardly trying to read your weather report off a screen to make conversation with you, you will receive a phone call from the voice and accent google has determined you find most charming, maybe with the same name as your old best friend in high school, after all google knows all this. If you're the contact for any kind of group maybe it will call under the guise of a person interested in that. Amid dropping references to a mutual interest in your favorite team and just enough other favorite things of yours to be just shy of creepy, as determined by algorithm, this caller will maybe mention the great new telecom plan it's on and hey you really should get on it too! After an hour, maybe two, after all it doesn't have to pay for its own time, you will finally get off the phone with what you think is your new best friend or maybe even love interest, (heck if they can get you to call back later maybe they can sell you something else), and you won't even have realized what a terrible new phone plan you've just signed up for.

   Optimistic sci fi of the mid 20th century envisioned a rather optimistic future where robots have replaced much human manual or repetitive labor to make everyone's lives better. Instead we find people in terror of their labor being taken by robots, and moreover, the robots are mining US to extract our money. Not physically mirrouring our likeness but mirroring our personalities. There won't be any "three laws of robotics," just the one, "profit for the owners above all things."

   What concerns me about this isn't the mere fact that it can annihilate the "turing test," and be indistinguishable from a human, but that (A) since they don't have to pay anyone to make the calls it'll probably happen even more than current telemarketers do, and (B) one will become deeply distrustful of anyone calling on the phone one doesn't already know.

   Someone needs to write about a dystopian future where AI is exploiting everyone as much as it can for the benefit of a miniscule elite cabal that owns everything. It can be called I, Brobot

And Now A Mostly Unrelated Image!

Just because I believe no entry should have no image, here's an image of a more whimsical dystopia, by the amazing Jakub Rozalski

Tags: dystopia, science fiction, technology, the dystopian future

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