“We trained the machines. All of us. But we never gave our consent.” In her lengthy Guardian article, famed Canadian author Naomi Klein, who in her book “Shock Doctrine” analyzed the tactics of “disaster capitalism”, turns on the CEOs of genetic AI. (Generative AI) and their “phalanx of fans”.
In the post, Klein, among others, refers to the “stealing” of human knowledge by tech gurus so that chatbots give “fabricated” and often “completely wrong” answers. Algorithmic junk, as he describes it.
“Like, for example, when you ask a robot for a definition of something that doesn’t exist, and it gives you, rather convincingly, a complete definition of it, with footnotes ready”, he said.
“They personalize our individuality”
The richest companies in history (Microsoft, Apple, Google, Meta, Amazon…) unilaterally seize all human knowledge that exists in digital and modifiable form and lock it in in enterprise products, complains Klein. Direct target, “those same people, who with their work formed the machines, without giving their permission or consent”.
“They feed on humanity’s collective ingenuity, inspiration, and discovery (as well as our most depraved traits), Klein says of the chatbox industry gurus. Their role models are machines of appropriation, devouring and privatizing our individual lives as well as our collective intellectual and artistic legacies.”
The industry’s favorite legend…
“AI fans, while acknowledging the fallibility of their machines, fuel the industry’s most cherished myth: that by building these great language models and training them on everything we humans have written, spoken and visually represented, they are giving rise to a keen intelligence ready to trigger an evolutionary leap for our species.”
But “their goal has never been to solve the problem of climate change or to make our governments more accountable or our daily lives more relaxed,” Klein points out. undermine cultivated “illusions” that AI generative intelligence will be beneficial.
“The goal has always been to take advantage of mass impoverishment”
“There is a world where artificial intelligence, as a powerful tool for predictive research and execution, could indeed be used to benefit humanity. But for that, these technologies will have to be developed in an economic and social order very different from ours; which will aim to satisfy human needs” argues the author, and continues:
“But as we understand it, our current system has nothing to do with it. Instead, it is designed to maximize the extraction of wealth and profit – both from humans and from the natural world. In this reality of hyper-concentrated power and wealth, AI – far from rising to the occasion of all those utopian illusions – is far more likely to become a terrifying tool of further dispossession and plunder.
“The goal has always been, the benefit of the mass impoverishment which, under capitalism, will be the obvious and logical consequence of the replacement of human functions by robots”.
Legitimation with the “rupture”
“In the case of the copyrighted material on which we now know he trained the AI models, several lawsuits have been filed that argue it’s clearly illegal,” Klein, who is then quoted the maneuvers of technology companies to legitimize their intentions.
“The thing, of course, is that Silicon Valley usually calls the theft a ‘breakup’ – and very often gets away with it. We know this movement: you’re trespassing on lawless territory – you’re pretending the old rules don’t apply to your new technology – you’re shouting that the legislation will only help China – while having your data firmly on the ground.
Until we all get over the novelty of these new rules and start taking stock of the social, political and economic disasters, the technology is already so widespread that courts and policy makers are giving up.”
“Don’t ask permission, ask for forgiveness”
And the trigger article continues: “We have seen this with Google’s analysis of books and works of art. With the colonization of space by Musk. With Uber’s attack on the taxi industry. With Airbnb’s attack on the rental market. With Facebook’s negligence with our data. Don’t ask permission, troublemakers like to say, ask for forgiveness.
In the book The era of surveillance capitalism, Shoshana Zuboff details how Google’s Street View Maps defied privacy rules by sending their camera cars to photograph our public streets and the outside of our homes. Until lawsuits are filed to defend the right to privacy, Street View was already so prevalent on our devices (and so cool, and so convenient…) that few courts outside of Germany were willing to intervene.
Now the same thing that happened outside our homes is happening to our words, our images, our songs, our entire digital life. All are currently confiscated and used to train machines to simulate thought and creativity.
The conclusion; “These companies need to know they are stealing, or at least they can prove they are. Simply I hope the old manual will work again – that the scale of the theft is already so great and growing with such speed that courts and policy makers will once again give up on the supposed inevitability of it all.”