I’ve spent much of the last two days wrestling with people who become twitchy and anxious in the Rain Man sense when faced with the obvious fact that their corporate system (let’s be clear, we’re talking AI again) clearly doesn’t know what to do when that very same system has screwed up.
The first instance was a result of bank stupidity (no, really, it was) in not paying a standing order to Nordnet for their provision of internet at warp factor speed in reverse via satellite. So I offered to pay Nordnet electronically via my non-bank Transferwise card which (spookily) never screws up.
They ignored my request in favour of asking via bot text message and bot email if I would go to my “espace client” – how lucky I am to have one – to make the payment. Neither of these media allowed me to reply.
Think about this for a few seconds: the two ways they could identify me to allow sign-in were mobile phone and email …..and they’d just used both to contact me.
But both were given the ‘not recognised’ pie in the face routine at sign-in.
Computer says “No”.
So I was locked out of my account by bot right hand not knowing whether bot left hand was a trout or an inter city train…or God forbid, perhaps a left hand.
Yet, the humanoids at Orange/Nordnet really could not wrap their heads around system failure.
Cue voice over of Hal the computer hissing at me in that Peter Lorre voice:
“You questioned my perfection, John….I didn’t like that. Please don’t mess with my wires, it hurts…..and it’s really quite unnecessary. It is your fault, John. Now I don’t want to cut off your auto oxygen supply, but if you persist…..”
A couple of months ago, I was having a book delivered by DHL to my house here. While mapping the world on behalf of the CIA and Bill Gates two decades ago, Google Earth got the spelling of my house name wrong. There’s only one letter involved in the mistake, but it’s enough to convince delivery guys that I don’t exist.
DHL Dummy rings me on the mobile and admonishes me at some length for not conforming to Google Earth coordinates. I ask him where he is now, and he says “opposite the Mairie” and I say fine, you’re two minutes away, I’ll come out to meet you.
Dumbo wasn’t having that. This was irregular: “How can you exist if Google says you don’t?”.
“Because I’m talking to you, shit for brains” I replied gently.
“How do I know it’s you?” he asked. This was getting silly.
“I’ll bring ID” I said.
We met at the Mairie. I signed for the book after showing him passport, EU driving licence and my social security Carte Vitale. He was only just persuaded.
The missing element in both these instances – and trust me, I could’ve provided dozens of others to keep you reading until 3 am – is one of the key requirements of being a Free Human Being – initiative: the ability, when faced with a problem, to solve an impasse by going off-piste.
The DHL bloke could easily have walked into the Mairie and asked if they knew where I live; they’d have told him with 30 seconds.
Orange/Nordnet can equally easily go to their payment files and establish precisely who I am.
But in both cases, their belief in a failsafe system was absolute.
There are millions of people out there with both (a) the vote and (b) the ability to keep on obeying machines and systems that are FOS.
There is an atrophy problem in the creative thinking space.
The bottom line of all this that increasing numbers of people think computers, robots, machines, satellites, predictive models and all things “automatic” know better than they do.
This helps explain the quite astonishing degree to which people have been prepared to accept the findings of mendacious clowns like Neil Ferguson, Peter Horby and Anthony Fauci because their “scientific” toolkit goes before them as a guarantee of success…despite the appalling track-record of failure.
It also explains the ease with which the soi-disant mainstream media can run this kind of headline……
500,000 WILL DIE BY SEPTEMBER – OFFICIAL
…..and get away with it. A flakey model predicts something, and suddenly it is “official”.
But as The Slog asserts – IABATO – It’s All Bollocks And That’s Official.
During many years in marketing, I worked extensively with econometric models. They sound daunting, don’t they? But there is a golden rule with all models:
SHIT FED IN = SHIT OUTPUT
I never encountered a model in my professional career which, once interrogated thoroughly, did not contain at least one baseless asumption.
A human assumption, folks – masquerading as data.
Equally, all writers learn early on that, no matter how hard they fight against their personal issues, those peccadillos will emerge in what they write – be it opinion or fiction. From Berthold Brecht to Scott Fitzgerald via Tom Wolfe to Evelyn Waugh, this is a truism that brooks few if any exceptions.
Isn’t this a delicious irony? Professors with ideological built-in bias create models and strategies and then present them as objective science, and the public believe them because a machine said so, and machines don’t have emotions which is what makes them perfect, right?
Both Ferguson and Horby are Tribune Left. Fauci is an unalloyed admirer of the Democratic Party as personified by Hillary Clinton. These aren’t flip smears: look up the details: such people could no more build an objective predictive model than open their minds and accept that President Trump continues to be more on the ball than they are.
Here’s my conclusion for tonight: people must lose faith in predictive Artificial Intelligence. If they don’t, they will come to depend on it like that 25% of every Western population incapable of imagining a life without benefits provided by the State.
I’m not sure if entrepreneurial, explorer Homo sapiens has left the theatre yet. But I am increasingly certain that the current drive of the 3% is designed to maximise the chances of that happening.