Raul Freitas

Ai! Ai! Ai!




That was the cry uttered by my grandfather when getting up off the couch, back in the day. Mind you, it’s the sound I’m making these days whenever the weather begins to take a turn for the worse. It’s not funny, and neither is the pummeling we’ve been getting from the press over the last few weeks about so-called artificial intelligence, or more specifically, its subset Emotional Artificial Intelligence.

That’s the type that apparently is being developed to learn to interpret and respond to human emotion. Innovators in the field are idealizing machines that will develop empathy. My witty title is also referring to the pain that all of this AI is going to rain down on humanity. There are benefits, of course, although I’m not going to delve into those, and the benefits have relentlessly graced the pages of our sources of information for what seems like weeks on end, as of late. Maybe it’s just me, but it seemed to come out of nowhere, all of a sudden, and just as suddenly become the topic du jour.

You just know that countless piles of money are being spent on this by big players, and nobody is going to convince me that they’re doing it for the benefit of mankind. Profit is king, so this technology must be seriously promising for those who seek to beef up the bottom line. We are living in a world where empathy from humans is at an all-time low, and now we propose to program machines to do a job that we barely know how to do ourselves.

Why do we need machines that empathize? We need machines that dig holes and lift heavy objects. Why do we need machines that ‘get’us? We need to learn to understand each other. Big money is consistently spent on projects without any gain for the population at large. Do a little research and you’ll find that, for the most part, it’s fact. Billions spent on ships to take billionaires into orbit and back, billions spent on getting to Mars, billions spent on developing and purchasing weapons of mass destruction.

Much of it is private money, but don’t think for a second that some of your money didn’t go to subsidizing every one of these and other projects. In the end, it’s all for profit, even if only eventual, but you can bet that these nutty billionaires know exactly what they’re doing because they and their money are shaping what we’ll be doing in the future. In the meantime, AI will keep us cozy with a big hug, letting us know that it will protect us from the big, bad world out there. It will tell us everything we want to hear; suggest to us everything we may require, and where to buy it. I mean, you can trust her, right? She’s been programmed with human emotions and traits. She won’t lie, wait, that’s a trait.

The future won’t require us to know anything at all because mommy/daddy AI will always have our backs, what a wonderful world.
Fiquem bem.

Raul Freitas/MS

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