Sunday, August 10, 2014

Bot World

I'm glad to see the estimable John Robb back on regularly at Global Guerrillas, as he frequently has that futuristic take on things. Case in point:  the steadily increasing presence of bots in the routine tasks that affect our lives and perceptions of the world. Most of us are probably aware to at least some extent of the proliferation of automated algorithms in financial trading, or article "spinners" used by internet marketers.

But it's becoming more and more prevalent; the notion that a bot could be used to spin a million Wikipedia articles is staggering. The idea that the same tech could be used to generate more conventional content -- books, magazines, movie scripts -- is annoying. That bots are doing most Wall Street trading should be a cause of concern. The possibility that bots may, sooner rather than later, be driving us around -- and that there may be insurance ramifications that necessitate having them drive us around -- should be alarming.

Even setting aside the sci-fi Skynet scenario of AI taking over, or the already problematic issue of near-constant government surveillance, think of how many jobs are lost just in the four proposed uses for bots (and of course there are and will be many more uses). In a groaning, increasingly overcrowded planet, with resource scarcity issues looming on all fronts, with any and every function automated, what exactly are all those unemployed people supposed to do?

1 comment:

Brian M said...

Join religious armies and war with other religious armies?