But here’s why they’ll never become our overlords
I don’t believe humanity’s future looks like Terminator or The Matrix, where AI takes over and crushes our bones under their feet or farms our fleshy bodies.
Case Study #1:
Technology is constantly breaking down. Case in point, my microwave is on the fritz. It alerted me to its predicament by lighting up every character on its LED screen, resembling an alien language, and by emitting a high-pitched squeal of desperation. Then, like a secret message from space, text began scrolling across the screen, one word at a time:
Oh – do you? That’s an awfully optimistic statement coming from a broken appliance. Look at this inanimate object creating its own reality – just like some humans do – despite all evidence pointing to the contrary.
Case Study #2:
Technology doesn’t understand basic speech. When I verbally instructed my phone to “call Dad,” its robotic voice responded, “call God.”
“No,” I corrected, enunciating more clearly. “Call Dad.”
It again responded, “call God.”
After going back and forth like this several times, I was on the verge of letting loose a slew of expletives. Then I suddenly stopped myself – why reject this intriguing offer?
“Ok,” I said. “Call God!”
“Contact not found,” was the response.
Another time, when I was preparing to send a text to my husband, I typed out, “I have to…” The phone then suggested that the next logical character in that sequence would be a brown, spiraled doodoo emoji. When have I ever in my life put into print that I needed to engage in that particular activity? I’ve never once selected that distasteful emoji, so why suggest it? Fail!
When I go to type my husband’s name after “I love you,” the phone suggests “biscuit” as the next likely word. It’s true – I do love me a warm, flaky biscuit, but what a random suggestion. Fail!
Case Study #3:
“Smart” technology is a joke. My round robotic vacuum blasts right on by clusters of debris, constantly gets stuck in tight places, straight-up ignores the device that’s supposed to keep it out of a certain area, and often can’t find its own charging base when a job is “completed.” This robot is as much of a half-asser as I am. I didn’t buy an expensive robot to do only as mediocre a job as I would have done. It was programmed for one purpose only – it should take pride in its work! Why is it in such a rush to get back to its base anyway? It’s not like it has a hot date.
Case Study #4 – 1,000:
My SUV lowered all four of its windows and popped the trunk open well after I’d left the vehicle parked in the driveway. The lock screen on my phone doesn’t recognize my face when I wake up in the morning because the bags under my eyes throws it off. The frequent traveler service that should have me sailing through Customs at international airports doesn’t work seamlessly for me because I lack well-defined fingerprints for the fingerprint reader to scan. Automatic doors often fail to recognize my presence and rob me of my dignity as I flail my arms maniacally trying to get them to acknowledge me. The ATM is constantly out of service. Self-driving car fiascos dominate the news. Need I go on?
Yes, you may be coming for my job, robots. But given that all you can suggest is doodoo emojis and flee for your charging base, you evidently won’t be any better at my job than I am. Which is why this risk doesn’t keep me awake at night.