Bookmarked Will A.I. Become the New McKinsey? by Ted Chiang in the New Yorker

Ted Chiang realises that corporates are best positioned to leverage the affordances of algorithmic applications, and that that is where the risk of the ‘runaway AIs’ resides. I agree that they are best positioned, because corporations are AI’s non-digital twin, and have been recognised as such for a decade.

Brewster Kahle said (in 2014) that corporations should be seen as the 1st generation AIs, and Charlie Stross reinforced it (in 2017) by dubbing corporations ‘Slow AI’ as corporations are context blind, single purpose algorithms. That single purpose being shareholder value. Jeremy Lent (in 2017) made the same point when he dubbed corporations ‘socio-paths with global reach’ and said that the fear of runaway AI was focusing on the wrong thing because “humans have already created a force that is well on its way to devouring both humanity and the earth in just the way they fear. It’s called the Corporation“. Basically our AI overlords are already here: they likely employ you. Of course existing Slow AI is best positioned to adopt its faster young, digital algorithms. It as such can be seen as the first step of the feared iterative path of run-away AI.

The doomsday scenario is … A.I.-supercharged corporations destroying the environment and the working class in their pursuit of shareholder value.

Ted Chiang

I’ll repeat the image I used in my 2019 blogpost linked above:

Your Slow AI overlords looking down on you, photo Simone Brunozzi, CC-BY-SA

Bookmarked Zuckerberg and Facebook Never Fail to Disappoint (by Karen Swisher)

Karen Swisher, in a NY Times column about the many troubling aspects of Facebook and Zuckerbergs centralised power, seeks a fitting metaphor for how he and FB behave regarding their responsibilities as a platform content distributor and editor and curator of that content. (FB should not be seen as a platform, until they have open API’s. That they removed FB apps and APIs over time is a sign they do not regard themselves as platform either, it’s just a convenient legal position to claim.)

She ends up with comparing Zuckerberg to a butcher disavowing responsibility for the meatproducts he sells, as most are made by others. Yes some meatproducts are rotten, but who is he to take people’s freedom to poison themselves, even if he’d never eat it himself.

Jason Kottke lifts the metaphor out of Karen Swisher’s column and adds a very peculiar anecdote from 2011 when Zuckerberg only wanted to eat meat of animals killed by himself.

He cannot hold on to such enormous power and avoid responsibility when things get tough.

Karen Swisher

Some links I thought worth reading the past few days