AI Backlash

A new series has started on The Guardian today on “The AI Future“, and I find myself equally amused and bemused by the tone of the first article, not least because its set-up feels self-devouring as it highlights issues about diversity and the marginalisation of concerns and potentials and then goes on to double-down on that very singular concern: namely, what does AI mean for capitalism?

That’s not an uninteresting question but I’d have more time for it if it was framed that way up front rather than settling for the euphemistic “society”:

In October, Dame Wendy Hall, professor of computer science at Southampton University, co-chaired an independent review on the British AI industry. The report found that AI had the potential to add £630bn to the economy by 2035. But to reap the rewards, the technology must benefit society, she said.

“AI will affect every aspect of our infrastructure and we have to make sure that it benefits us,” she said. “We have to think about all the issues. When machines can learn and do things for themselves, what are the dangers for us as a society? It’s important because the nations that grasp the issues will be the winners in the next industrial revolution.”

Whilst “society” intends to speak to us all, industry nonetheless remains the bottom line.

I’m interested to see where this series goes and if its tone and perspective remains the same. It’s also got me revisiting Nick Land’s NCRaP Anthropol lecture series.

Aren’t we, in talking about AI existential risk, just talking about capitalism?

There are so many slight references here that are both interesting and amusing. Of course, ‘Sophia’ the robot makes an appearance – always with quotation marks, doing what they can to undermine her apparent subjectivity – in which she quotes William Gibson to those who will perhaps later control the Turing Cops that The Guardian is hoping to see.

Time is already tying itself in knots here.

A finale side note: to compare AI to GM crops is interesting – even if just with regards to its social perception and anticipated backlash. Another point I hope – but cynically doubt – this series will expand on further.


It seems rare that you can find The Guardian and InfoWars discussing the same topic on the same terms.


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