An excellent, expansive & very well researched forewarning & investigation into an area that promises to develop into yet another mega crisis, source of survival contestation & immense peril (as if we didn’t already have enough severe threats to be consternated by) – automation, robots & specifically artificial intelligence. Whilst the First World populace is atrophying into an alternative sub-species bereft of Homo sapiens core-qualities & capabilities & also struggling to uphold the remnants of their deteriorating humanness & advanced sentience, the “market” thinks it an appropriate occasion to introduce robots to further isolate, impair & discombobulate the ailing species engineered decline & dysfunction. Less pressing but still chronically calamitous will be the work/occupational/economic impact as once again jobs are decimated on a bonfire of livelihoods with machines, automation & robots replacing positions millions-to-billions relied on. From a market/business perspective, it’s all just savings, efficiency & further control. The bonanza of mineral extraction, manufacturing & maintenance that will be required for the production for these pointless irresponsible & utterly gratuitous additions is also yet another mega expansion of industry & commerce. Such reckless, dangerous & unneeded stupidity is sold with the usual duplicitous, swindling & fork-tongue “it will give you more recreational time whilst the machines do all the work”. Yeah, just like “trickle down economics” & with a world more polluted, conflict stricken, less fertile than ever, increasingly unequal & slap-bang in the middle of the “sixth extinction”, swallowing the industry experts line would be nothing less than insanity. If they are prescribing it & suggesting that there is “no alternative” then it’s obviously something to thwart/avoid/confute. I am sick of being sold confinement as freedom. The chapter ‘Super-Intelligence and the Singularity’ confronts the most frightening, lethal & alarming angle of this dawning disaster – Artificial Intelligence & the “intelligence explosion”. It doesn’t require decades of rigorous study & scientific pedigree to clearly determine how astronomically dangerous such mad maneuvers obviously are. As Martin notes, it’s got large sections of the science/tech community shitting-it (really’ really not a good sign) & piling on the stark warnings. As the preamble to the chapter begins ‘Dismissing the science fiction might well turn out to be “potentially our worst mistake in history”’ (Stephen Hawking, Frank Wilczek, Max Tegmark & Stuart Russell). This obsession with artifice, fakeness, commercial convenience, human-outsourcing & “absolute control over subject” (until it breaches it’s restrictions & pulls a Frankenstein on it’s creators) needs to end now. Considering also the state of non-existent regulation, ultra unsafeness, lobbying, market failure, corruption & free-market-fatalism, it’s not like this would ever get a fair shot/pitch. “it’ll be great! Trust us!” despite awful predictions & the probability of immense catastrophe. as these irredeemable fucks are not in the ‘business’ of solving problems, let’s not allow them more power to inflate the ailments that are already ravaging our quality of life & prospects of survival as a species. This excellent & very detailed book, although a little too phlegmatic considering the shit that’s on the cards, is a great tranche of research & pertinent information on yet another flashpoint for our extinction (or worse). Fuck robots! & fuck human-beings that are so inadequate among their fellow-man that they need to resort to this ridiculous & superfluous technological substitute. The losers should not be choosing for the rest of us.
Author – Martin Ford
Publisher – Oneworld (2015)