When I spotted the BBC headline, "The grim fate that could be worse than extinction," I instinctively recoiled and thought, "fuck, what now?" I don't know about you but with this pandemic, the kaleidoscope of climate breakdown impacts, and the seeming "end days" of democracy, I'm up to my ass in alligators.
Cut to the chase. I'll bite, what could be worse than extinction? Oh, I don't know. Ask George. George who? George Orwell, you pillock.
Big Brother is already here.
“Over the last few years, we've seen the rise of filter bubbles and people getting shunted by various algorithms into believing various conspiracy theories, or even if they’re not conspiracy theories, into believing only parts of the truth,” says Haydn Belfield, academic project manager at the Centre for the Study of Existential Risk at the University of Cambridge. “You can imagine things getting much worse, especially with deep fakes and things like that, until it's increasingly harder for us to, as a society, decide these are the facts of the matter, this is what we have to do about it, and then take collective action.”
Tucker Davey, a writer at the Future of Life Institute in Massachusetts agrees. “We need to decide now what are acceptable and unacceptable uses of AI,” he says. “And we need to be careful about letting it control so much of our infrastructure. If we're arming police with facial recognition and the federal government is collecting all of our data, that's a bad start.”
Yesterday an acquaintance in the States emailed me with a provocative defence of Donald Trump she had found online. She likes Trump and is trying to find some justification for voting for him - again. I mentioned how Trump had tuned up his base until they've become insensate. "All you're left with is the sound of one hand clapping. There are people who imagine they can hear that. Trump counts on that."