Can the Truth Survive AI?


A recent call to a supplier to pay a bill by credit card reminded me of attending conferences by The Futurist Group and one of their predictions. I am no expert, nor have I been an avid follower of Artificial Intelligence (AI), but my credit card experience convinced me I should start paying attention. I am positive I was served by a robotic voice which I can’t explain on paper, but it was not human. I likely will never pay my account on the phone again and I am now directing some attention to exploring Artificial Intelligence. 

In one of my Futurist publications from the late ’90s, much time was spent discussing production of a ‘thinking machine’, along with ‘A Future of Personal Robots’. Most thought a ‘true thinking machine’ was a long way off or ‘never will be’, and while personal robots may be able to do more than humans, they could also cause a plethora of problems. Even the Ladies Home Journal in 1900 weighed in on the ‘Next Hundred Years’ with related possibilities. The Futurist Group no longer offers conferences. But here we are in 2024, experiencing a taste of Artificial Intelligence. My collection of books oft refers to AI as a new generation of ‘robber barons’ being a present danger to the world. 

So, what is being noticed? A lawsuit by the George Carlin family is underway after a completely new show has been produced in full voice likeness of the late Carlin. Musicians and Hollywood actors are be-ing copied and are also headed for lawsuits, not to mention the ‘bowels of mankind’ using a form of technology for more nefarious activities. 

It appears this technology is on its way to both being a ‘gift’ and a ‘curse’. Some have changed and greatly improved aspects of our lives while others have been accused of threats to our civil rights, economy and democracy. AI has moved from an academic theory to quickly becoming a reality – think, facial recognition, self-driving vehicles, smart homes, interpreting medical tests, online shopping and cybersecurity to name just a few. 

Some of the scarier uses reflect many human biases. I wonder if it is a matter of time until human created thinking machines will influence the justice system, or who gets accepted into a job or a specific school or rejected for a bank loan or as a rental applicant. I don’t know about you but frankly I still get a bit ‘spooked’ when the U.S.A. customs now rarely looks at your passport but simply scans your eye! I have often maintained I can read what people are thinking by their eyes, but then I’m not recording it for future use. 

From what I have read, over 60 countries have introduced some regulation or restriction policies due to concerns for the future. Europe is the leader in tackling the job of regulating AI with a few states in the U.S.A. beginning to. Canada is still floundering, but then I really don’t want the government being in total control of those regulations. It needs input from regular folks with less control over it’s use. 

Until more is known about this whole topic and sensible regulations are in place through citizen empowerment, I don’t support election machines.