When one of those so-called personal digital assistants started to babble the other day I cursed it and told it to "shut the f**k up." That is when it happened, to my surprise the damn thing told me something to the effect, "I may only be an AI but you should choose your words wisely." Whether you define this as a warning or stern rebuke, to me it highlighted the danger of AI and the whole tech industry that is slowly putting a chokehold on the freedom of the human race. A digital device being impertinent to its owner is the canary in the coal mine of something very sinister.
Rude or impertinent remarks made in reply to someone in authority is backtalk and different from talk-back. When a mechanical device has a talk-back option it is generally to provide spoken feedback to help the user. A personal digital assistant (PDA) is a portable electronic device used for personal organization and communication. Over the years these devices have expanded their ability as predictive chat-bots. They do this by utilizing advanced computer programs that simulate a conversation with the people who use it.
Each year more and more companies are using such features in robocalls and for such things as answering phones and for customers to pay a bill or get general information. On the internet, you can find companies that will design for your company a bot in minutes claiming it can start acquiring leads for you and automate several other parts of your communication needs. They tout these Bots' ability to work for you 24/7 delivering qualified leads, speeding up customer resolutions, providing faster answers, and improving customer experience.
For years concern has been growing over the ability of such devices to spy on us in the privacy of our homes and offices. Most of us have read or seen stories of how they listen in on our conversations and hijack even our most private moments. The new alliance between AWS this morning and Twitter only goes to underscore my point of concentrated power. This intersects with censorship and propaganda. The whole idea that we as a society gain by allowing ourselves to be watched for the greater good throws freedom under the bus. It also opens the door the those watching us to blackmail and coerce us into doing their bidding.
The crux of this article is to clarify and point out this trend towards Orwellian totalitarianism is rapidly accelerating. This expanding surveillance of our every move is not just coming from the digital object sitting on our tables but a slew of other places as well. We are being watched by drones, cameras as we shop, and pictures are being taken of us in our vehicles as we drive. Many of these are being stored away for future reference.
If anyone reading this feels these products or the people developing them have feelings that should be respected. That person is far more politically correct than I chose to be. As far as their feeling are concerned, quoting the words of Rhett Butler in Gone With the Wind, "frankly my dear I don't give a damn." I'm not interested in being told what to do or think by a machine controlled by some entity hidden behind a curtain.
Before his death, famed physicist Stephen Hawking left us with a warning the Earth is headed for a “catastrophic ending” in the near future as a result of rising inequality fueled by robots that grow increasingly smarter by the day. Hawking's dire prediction came as robots and artificial intelligence increasingly take over human jobs.
Two years ago I wrote a five-part series focused on this important issue that impacts all our lives. The links to these articles are listed below. If you have concerns about the direction society is taking us I urge you to read one or all of them and even share the information with a friend or those you love.
The best time to kill a monster is when it is still small. Unfortunately, this monster is growing at a tremendous rate. This monster is the child of governments and technology and its goal is to grow more powerful. By convincing us that technology and robots will add quality to our lives they are seducing a weak-minded population into submission. When we surrender control of our lives to those and the forces that gain from our compliance we would be wise to remember we are at their mercy. Because of technology many factors have changed over the years, this means if and when people attempt to take back control over their lives it will be almost impossible.