(These are excerpts from my book "Intelligence is not Artificial")
The Dystopia of Vast Algorithmic Bureaucracies - Post-truth Algorithms
People are both accomplices and victims of this standardization of life. Not long ago, the tradition was that, at year's end, you would write (handwrite!) personalized letters to your relatives and friends summarizing the main happenings of the year. Then it became a routine to buy standard "happy holidays" cards and simply (hand)write two or three personalized wishes for each person. Now most people send a mass email to all their acquaintances, or a message on a social-networking platform. There is a smartphone app that sends out automatically birthday wishes to your friends on their birthday: you don't need to remember, the app remembers for you, and even customizes a message for you. Some day someone will develop an app that automatically replies to birthday wishes, so you won't have to reply to all the people who send you birthday wishes. The two apps will exchange messages such as "Happy birthday, old man!" and "Thank you, i hope you are doing well" without either person knowing that this is going on. I had lots of uncles and aunts and i remember each one being a little eccentric. The new generations are increasingly uniform in their life routines and hobbies. I suppose this will create a standardized human being. It won't make much of a difference whether you hunt mushroom with this uncle or tend the garden with that uncle or watch aunt Teresa cook. They will all make the same jokes, wear the same clothes, shop at the same mall, and tell you to brush your teeth and do your homework.
The beauty of algorithmic bureaucracies, as any lawyer knows, is also that it doesn't even matter whether your answers are truthful or not, only whether they match what the algorithm is programmed to accept.
When you are looking for a job, the "headhunter" knows exactly what you should write in the resume in order to get an interview. What your skills really are is largely irrelevant. An idiot with a well-designed resume is more likely to get a job than a genius with a horrible resume.
Tutors can help the dumbest student pass the most difficult examinations without studying too much: an examination is just a game of rules, and they know which are the rules. (They don't necessarily know much about the subject matter).
If you want certainty to obtain a tourist visa to visit a foreign country,
apply for the visa through a travel agency specialized in visas for that country: this agency knows exactly the rules to obtain a visa, they may invent a fake itinerary with fake hotel reservations and even fake flights, and you will obtain your visa by express procedure. If you apply by yourself and tell the truth, chances are that you will write something that will cause your application to be denied. Machines have nothing to do with this: the visa is denied and approved by human beings. Those human beings simply follow rules and regulations. Their job is to check if your story fits the rules and regulations. Note that their job is not to find out whether you are telling the truth or lying. The rules are more important than the truth.
When you file a claim for a car accident, you have a choice that will determine what happens to your case: if you hire an attorney, you enter an algorithm in which your attorney will speak with their attorney, whose goal is to close your case as soon as possible; if you don't hire an attorney, you enter an algorithm in which you will have to deal with an adjustor who is paid to minimize the amount that the insurance has to reimbourse you.
The future is a bleak algorithmic society. Don't blame it on the machines. Blame it on the obsession that humans have for structuring their environment.
Common sense is increasingly uncommon.
Back to the Table of Contents
Purchase "Intelligence is not Artificial")