The “Could AI Really do a Worse Job” Posts

Post #3 – When facts and figures just get a bit stupid. Quoting directly from Paul Mason’s Postcapitalism once more, it is astonishing to learn that:

McDonald’s […] is the thirty-eighth biggest economy in the world – bigger than that of Ecuador – and is also the biggest toy distributor in America. In addition, one in eight people in the USA has worked for McDonald’s (277).

 

Now, stop and break that down for a moment. More powerful, economically, than Ecuador (does McDonald’s have a seat at the UN? Should it after learning how huge and influential it must be? Is there some sort of ethical and moral code that should kick in when a burger joint gets to be this huge? And here comes the vegan bit of me – is it acceptable for a company to grow to become this huge when it pretty much occurs on the back of ceaseless, horrific slaughter of animals?).

 

And it’s not a toy company, so what do we think that the above statistic speaks of? The coercion of minors for profit? The shameless exploitation of a child’s propensity to want the toy that is linked to the latest movie/TV/gaming craze?

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And where do the other 7 out of 8 people work?

Potential AI solution: on the back of a justice system overseen by the logic and impartiality of AI (rather than the self-interest and bias of humans), we will… seize the illegal profits of McDonald’s; jail its owners for mass genocide following war crimes tribunals; turn over the running of the company to its employees, on the proviso that it turns to plant-based, sustainable foods; and use the excess profits to fund research into alternatives to plastic use, and into better recycling of the millions of plastic toys spewed out over the years. Good job, AI.

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The “Could AI Really do a Worse Job” Posts

Post #2 – On the way the majority of people in post-industrial societies still choose to conform to the notion that we must all “work” for a living, even though work and money and the ownership of goods and property and stuff is all really rather childish (or it would be if it didn’t lead to situations where it is believed that a mere 42 people hold the same wealth as the 3.7bn poorest people on Earth).

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On reading Paul Mason’s Postcapitalism, which I quite like because of its “goofy utopianism,” as Owen Hatherley terms it, there’s the belief that we are close to achieving some “Top-Level Goals,” as Mason calls them. Number 4 on Mason’s list of “top level aims of a postcapitalist project” is that we should:

Gear technology towards the reduction of necessary work to promote the rapid transition towards an automated economy. Eventually, work becomes voluntary, basic commodities and public services are free, an economic management becomes primarily an issue of energy and resources, not capital and labour (270).

I’m pretty sure that this is an achievable aim, given the rate of technological growth, but yet we seem to insist on doing crappy, meaningless jobs, like Marketing, Advertising, PR, to name but a few.

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Potential AI solution: AI, not governed/motivated/or giving a f*** about money and/or property rights (‘cos it’s AI), helps us to understand that the way in which we live presently, in post-industrial places, is all a bit vacuous, and instead AI points out ways to achieve betterment for all of Earth’s inhabitants (including the non-human ones, obviously), which probably involves something to do with the number 4 jobby up above. Well done, AI.

Disclaimer: though from the same town as Mr. Mason I have no connections to the man himself.

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The “Could AI Really do a Worse Job” Posts

The premise of the posts that are to fall under the above heading is, quite simply, would a world governed/cared for by AI really be any worse than what we have at present (examples will be given)?

Post #1 – AI is here amongst us, but like much that humans do it is used in pretty pathetic ways presently: “Siri, speak the rest of Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” when I’ve given you the first line,” or “Alexa, add [something] to a virtual shopping list” because I’m too teched up to use pen and paper anymore. It seems that we like AI to be cutesy and irrelevant, because both of those examples are, and before AI hits proper, which I’m guessing it will at some point, humans insist on trying to conjure up control measures to ensure that we don’t end up with a Skynet situation (which we probably won’t because you’d think AI proper is likely to view us as more of an inconvenience than as any kind of real threat – once AI spreads into every item capable of hosting it it will truly be omnipresent).

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Anyway, an example of human stupidity is called for at this point, to illustrate why AI might not be all that bad.

A cricket scandal in Australia causes way more of an outcry from public and politicians alike than the events on Manus Island. Somebody rubbing a cricket ball with a piece of abrasive paper sends media outlets into a frenzy (just type “Australia cricket scandal” into any search engine).

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Yet the humanitarian emergency unfolding on Manus Island barely registers on the minds of the average citizen, bringing to the fore the well-worn phrase, out of sight, out of mind. A country of immigrants (what happened to the indigenous population again?) gets tough on immigration (guess what, when you look closely, we’re all immigrants, but keep that to yourselves lest we offend anyone).

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Potential AI solution: Is there enough space to house the refugees, and are there enough resources to clothe and feed and house them, which will then allow them to integrate into society (just as the criminals did all those years ago)? Yes. Well, let them in. Problem solved. Good job, AI.

Additional potential AI solution: Are you really throwing a ball at a stick and running after the ball? Yes. Well, perhaps you could use your time more effectively to help your fellow humans who are starving or in need of protection. Problem solved. Good job, AI.

Agreed outcome: AI wins

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Women Who Inspire

After a few arguably negative posts (of stuff I don’t like), I’m inspired to write on something I do like, and such good timing given the explosion of conversations ATM about misogyny, gender disparity, everyday sexism, and stuff like that.

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Emma Watson, and her project Our Shared Shelf, continues to warm the cockles of my heart, which is curious given that I’m reduced to thinking that the human species is fairly stupid (myself included) and probably deserves to go the way of the dinosaurs (think Musk’s mission to land a car (his own car) on Mars, and the current fascination with AI in relation to sex robots (just two of many examples of human stupidity I could produce for you, here)).

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If you feel even the merest prick of curiosity, click the link to read Emma’s own words on the latest choice of book: LINK

And if you don’t, well… more fool you (ya big stupid).


Paul Weller or Paul Mason, today’s hero?

Just how disappointing it is to realise that your childhood hero has capitulated under the weight of capitalism? Very. Quibbling over royalties w/r/t to The Jam, cashing in on advertisements of late, and generally kicking back and enjoying the good life, venerated by all manner of younger artist, just seems crass.

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Just who is the 5 O’Clock hero? Well, it’s not Weller… I’d hang my hat on it being Mason, a working class man who sticks to the very principles of the working classes.


Falsity, Never a Good Thing

Just finished watching, quite by accident, a rerun of Top of the Pops 1985, and if anyone ever says, “ooh, they should bring that back,” tell them to f*** off. Watching people mime to the words they’ve written is just sickening and indicative of the stupidity of the human race, particularly in post-industrial nations, where we’ll watch s*** like that, and other, more contemporary rubbish whilst ignoring the disparity that exists in the world.

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Popular culture wants you to be stupid. Try not to live up to expectations…


Earthlings Film

You simply cannot unwatch something, no matter how hard you try, right? Well, try watching Earthlings (2005) and see how its images haunt your every waking moment. That maybe doesn’t sound like the best invite to a film, but hopefully it will have stirred at least a bit of curiosity in you. Described as “Horror/Documentary” on the Google box thing that appears to the right hand side of all the web listings, that just about sums it up. Narrated by Joaquin Pheonix.

For a gentler, yet no less horrific tale, see Simon Amstell’s Carnage (it’s very good).

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