The dystopia is already here

and it’s globally distributed.

The future is already here — it's just not very evenly distributed.

That's a quote from William Gibson you’ve all probably seen a million times. Advertising and techie shitheads love quoting it before they do “cutting edge” trends porn. What they never seem to understand is how politically subversive the last bit is. Anyway, I digress. Because those wankers abuse it I swore I’d never use it.

“The dystopia is already here and it’s globally distributed.”

Still, paraphrasing it is useful for me tonight. One person’s future is another person’s dystopia and thanks to the fundamental power of the Internet as a tool for distribution we can spread dystopia far and wide. Often before we know it, realise it, or even imagine it.

Before I start properly ranting about things I wanted to take a moment to dismiss out of hand utter nonsense distractions like the AGI Terminator scenarios twats like Elon Musk like to raise to misdirect people from more immediate concerns like job destruction. That Skynet fear-mongering is 100% bullshit.

And this is why Musk is full of shit. Pedro Domingos hit the nail on the head when he said “People worry that computers will get too smart and take over the world, but the real problem is that they’re too stupid and they’ve already taken over the world.”

Add to that this insightful comment from Michelle Alexander, “It’s tempting to believe that computers will be neutral and objective, but algorithms are nothing more than opinions embedded in mathematics.”

And this one by Zeynep Tufekci, “We’re building this infrastructure of surveillance authoritarianism merely to get people to click on ads.”

Taken as a whole those last three points are terrifying and can be summarised as “Really shitty AI™ is already here. It’s biased as fuck. And it exists to make ad revenue for the morally bankrupt.”

Another way to encapsulate all of this is to say, as Monika Bielskyte does, that “Dystopia is the product roadmap.”

File under: #dystopia #skynetisbullshit #stupidAI #biasedalgorithms #surveillance
Next week: 
Stories about attempted suicide, stochastic terrorism, and outright genocide. Consider that your first and only trigger warning.