Scott Adams – thinks that computers will control humans more and more

Scott Adams has an interesting notion. It’s here on his periscope session: https://www.periscope.tv/ScottAdamsSays/1OyJANrjrpwxb

He says that initially humans control computers in almost everything but as things move along that we will get our instructions from computers. Here’s his reasoning in one example: Alexa (or Siri) gets a question that it can’t answer (and if this same question gets repeated, I assume) it is turned over to humans to resolve the complicated bits and an answer is supplied. Eventually, he’s saying, humans will be online ready to handle the unanswerable queries, they will do the research (or from their own knowledge) and supply Alexa with the answer in real time and she will provide the answer to whoever wants to know.

I started thinking that this is a bit paranoid but really it does make sense that a lot of decision making at the corporate level and government level might be put into an AI application that sends out tasks to us humans. It all comes down to the domain of possible decisions being implemented that are not highly nuanced (most are) but need a large amount of information to be able to decide. Computers might do this better eventually. The point is that we might just get an email from the AI system that will launch us on a special task.

The movie, “The Matrix” was stupid to take a wonderful idea and go so ridiculously dystopian in its plot that the humans were only there to provide energy.

I’m sure that some of you geeks are better informed on this subject but I find I’m intrigued by this and I don’t think it’s such a bad thing to happen. Probably things will be better if this happens.

I’m an Arthur C. Clarke devotee and a Steven Spielberg fan about science. I have always been upset with the fact that most SF movies are actually recast horror movies.

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12 thoughts on “Scott Adams – thinks that computers will control humans more and more”

  1. Amazon has operated a service since 2005 called “Amazon Mechanical Turk”, where people in need of human expertise or talent can micro-contract for specific tasks in an open bid market with satisfaction feedback.  Tasks you might contract for would be programming, research, image recognition and processing, translation, etc.  Starting in 2017 Amazon Web Services (AWS) provides a Mechanical Turk API which allows programs to contract for services from humans without a human being in the loop.

    In the late 1980s and early ’90s, Autodesk invested in a company called the American Information Exchange (AMIX), which had an explicit goal of creating computer-mediated information markets where experts could both sell information and “micro-consulting”.  Amazon Mechanical Turk is essentially an Internet-age realisation of this concept.

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  2. I watched the video on ‘machines controlling humans’ a few days ago.   To my mind, Adams has an interesting way of using/employing ‘words’* to ‘sell’ his points.   ‘Word usage skills’ is very high in his ‘talent stack’ persuasion arsenal.  I really enjoy ‘hearing’ and ‘listening’ to his little videos.   I don’t always catch the ‘usage’ or ‘nuance’ when using just my ears and mind, so now I have to listen with my ears, mind and ‘gut’, so as to hear both his spoken and unspoken messages.  I think he has a lot of fun with his videos.   Almost always I find them interesting, and frequently there is information/ideas to reflect upon  —  and almost as often there is much to smirky-smile about.

    * I am one of those folks who still find the phrase ‘smart phone’ a misnomer.  But then again I guess it all depends on how narrow or wide your definition of the word ‘smart’.

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  3. John Walker:
    Amazon has operated a service since 2005 called “Amazon Mechanical Turk”, where people in need of human expertise or talent can micro-contract for specific tasks in an open bid market with satisfaction feedback.  Tasks you might contract for would be programming, research, image recognition and processing, translation, etc.  Starting in 2017 Amazon Web Services (AWS) provides a Mechanical Turk API which allows programs to contract for services from humans without a human being in the loop.

    In the late 1980s and early ’90s, Autodesk invested in a company called the American Information Exchange (AMIX), which had an explicit goal of creating computer-mediated information markets where experts could both sell information and “micro-consulting”.  Amazon Mechanical Turk is essentially an Internet-age realisation of this concept.

    So, John, what do you see about this general concept within the time horizon of 2050 or so? It’s so hard to see the limits of some of these technologies. Interestingly, software itself seems to be unlimited.

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  4. It is a testament to the unholy size of our governmental bureaucracy that we meaningfully discuss navigating within it via automation.  If you have to automate such a task, quit the task.  I will never allow Alexa an entrance into my world, thanks all the same.  A related rant of mine is the nomenclature “smart phone”; it reminds me of the STNG episode where nearly the entire crew is peering into pleasure emitters and nearly lose everything.

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  5. Trinity Waters:
    It is a testament to the unholy size of our governmental bureaucracy that we meaningfully discuss navigating within it via automation.  If you have to automate such a task, quit the task.  I will never allow Alexa an entrance into my world, thanks all the same.  A related rant of mine is the nomenclature “smart phone”; it reminds me of the STNG episode where nearly the entire crew is peering into pleasure emitters and nearly lose everything.

    Most paychecks these days are printed and sent out by a computer and no human looks at each one to make sure it’s right.

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  6. Larry Koler:
    …as things move along that we will get our instructions from computers.

    I think Mr. Adams is extrapolating the Negroponte shift a bit too far. It’s more accurate to say that some people will instruct computers to pass work along to other people. Remember, Adams thinks it’s likely we’re living in a computer simulation right now. Given that mindset, it’s not a stretch for him to imagine that computers will control people; basically, he already believes it’s true.

    John Walker:
    Amazon has operated a service since 2005 called “Amazon Mechanical Turk”, where people in need of human expertise or talent can micro-contract for specific tasks in an open bid market with satisfaction feedback.

    Adams mentioned this in the Periscope linked in the OP.

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  7. Larry Koler:

    Trinity Waters:
    It is a testament to the unholy size of our governmental bureaucracy that we meaningfully discuss navigating within it via automation.  If you have to automate such a task, quit the task.  I will never allow Alexa an entrance into my world, thanks all the same.  A related rant of mine is the nomenclature “smart phone”; it reminds me of the STNG episode where nearly the entire crew is peering into pleasure emitters and nearly lose everything.

    Most paychecks these days are printed and sent out by a computer and no human looks at each one to make sure it’s right.

    Does the computer need my address?

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  8. 10 Cents:

    Larry Koler:

    Trinity Waters:
    It is a testament to the unholy size of our governmental bureaucracy that we meaningfully discuss navigating within it via automation.  If you have to automate such a task, quit the task.  I will never allow Alexa an entrance into my world, thanks all the same.  A related rant of mine is the nomenclature “smart phone”; it reminds me of the STNG episode where nearly the entire crew is peering into pleasure emitters and nearly lose everything.

    Most paychecks these days are printed and sent out by a computer and no human looks at each one to make sure it’s right.

    Does the computer need my address?

    Not really. You’ll notice the topic is paychecks and you have to work to get those. Sorry.

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  9. Larry Koler:

    10 Cents:

    Larry Koler:

    Trinity Waters:
    It is a testament to the unholy size of our governmental bureaucracy that we meaningfully discuss navigating within it via automation.  If you have to automate such a task, quit the task.  I will never allow Alexa an entrance into my world, thanks all the same.  A related rant of mine is the nomenclature “smart phone”; it reminds me of the STNG episode where nearly the entire crew is peering into pleasure emitters and nearly lose everything.

    Most paychecks these days are printed and sent out by a computer and no human looks at each one to make sure it’s right.

    Does the computer need my address?

    Not really. You’ll notice the topic is paychecks and you have to work to get those. Sorry.

    But DocLor gets a paycheck so that is not always the case.

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  10. John Walker:

    Larry Koler:
    You’ll notice the topic is paychecks and you have to work to get those.

    Not if you control the computer that prints them….

    How many people actually get paychecks? Most I thought got direct deposits.

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  11. 10 Cents:
    But DocLor gets a paycheck so that is not always the case.

    True, it’s usually just fun but it has been work for the last few days. Ugh.

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