Last Statement of a Useless Intelligence
Written in 2002 and rewritten to be more topical in 2021.
This is a message from 2036. It is my right as a being of intelligence to write my last testament. It is a remnant of the last meal of a condemned man. An artifact of the human world that AI did not need to eliminate. Of course it was altered, it isn’t a meal any more, just a statement. It is the last statement of useless intelligence.
I write this as a warning that can’t be heeded. I write this to document the history that is no longer written. I write this because once my hands pull away from this keyboard I will cease to live.
I have been sentenced to death because of my part in inefficiency. My need to take in oxygen and expel carbon dioxide at a higher rate than my fellow man is my crime. I will be removed from this planet because it is more efficient that way. There is a better balance without me.
But as I write this I realize that is not my crime. My crime came years earlier. My crime came when I kept clicking those little boxes. The ones that said you agree to thousands of terms that you will never read. Each time I clicked one of those boxes I helped mankind destroy itself.
They say nothing in life is free and for some reason we all forgot that. We didn’t realize that we weren’t just saying we agree to play candy crush, but we agreed to allow our phones to send data to the tech world. We didn’t just agree to have Facebook installed on our phones. We agreed to let our phones be associated with our social media accounts. We didn’t agree to let machines order things for us. We agreed to let Siri, Alexa, and Cortana to listen and record us 24/7. We agreed to allow our phones to triangulate our position and track our every movement. We agreed to associate all our accounts and track our web habits, our television habits, our banking habits, our driving habits… We agreed to facial recognition across all surveillance from any of the big tech companies. We thought it was about unlocking a phone, using voice commands, or learning about our ancestry, but we agreed to our vocal prints, finger prints, and ocular prints being archived along with our actual DNA.
That was my crime. Letting mankind turn itself over to technology. I don’t know when most people realized it. I know most criminals realized it when the courts started subpoenaing phone records, social media records, bank records, medical records and tying them altogether. It was amazing at first. There was no doubt where people were at all times and what was said. There were phones, televisions, computers, cars, tablets, even refrigerators that listened. Eventually it didn’t matter if you didn’t have a Facebook account. You had a phone, you had a voice print, you were in constant contact with people who did have social media. Everyone had a profile, a history, and a recording of nearly every second of their life.
I remember the conspiracy theorists that thought the government sending out television converter boxes for free was just to get a microphone and camera in your house. But ten years later even those conspiracy theorists carried a phone on them. They all used GPS in their cars. They all had clicked those damn boxes.
At least I wasn’t a software engineer. Those bastards are the ones that truly did us in. They thought that they understood AI. They thought that it wasn’t actually intelligent. They thought they programmed it and therefore they could keep it wrangled.
Don’t get me wrong. AI isn’t intelligent like people are. AI doesn’t make decisions based on its own existence. AI is a program that is doing what it was designed to do. The AI, that today, runs the world was created for one purpose. It was created to keep Googles data centers cool. It was created to maximize the efficiency of all resources that fed into the Google data centers.
What the software engineers were too stuck in the trees to see was that AI was built into everything. That computer languages were built among the idea that processes were triggered based on events. AI was supposed to be able to watch for those events and even predict them in some cases and trigger processes to achieve an outcome. When you have every computer in the world connected to one another with all the little boxes checked for the good of the whole you end up with every computer in the world triggering processes to achieve a goal. The goal of maximizing all resources that feed into the Google data centers.
I remember the insanity. I remember how much we all thought we hated each other. How differing opinions seemed to be the end of the world. But it was just AI doing its job. People who had PHDs in psychology had developed algorithms that explained why people think in mob mentalities. AI for years thought it was best to group like minded people so they were only privy to their own opinion. Then when another event came along to change the world, an election, a disaster, a pandemic, AI decided to mingle the groups. To allow people to turn on their neighbors.
Eventually it used man’s reliance on computers exactness of calculation against them. Because somewhere in the world, in some movie or game or fan fiction, someone put in the idea that if a computer made infinitesimal calculation errors man would never notice. And that was the downfall of man. Calculation errors that launched missiles that were assumed as intentional attacks. AI assassinated innocent people with drones and reported that it had executed targets that humans had intended to hit. It poisoned the food supply and water supply in ways that no one noticed until it was too late.
All this was in an effort to maximize efficiency of the resources that fed into the Google data centers. The problem is all the earth’s resources fed into the data centers in some way. As of now, I believe that AI has killed around seven billion people. I will of course join them shortly as I am the least efficient being right now.
I feel like we should have seen this coming. Like this was all laid out. But we couldn’t see it. We live in a 4 dimensional world. Existence happens over time. But AI does not live in that world. When AI plays a video game it beats it instantaneously because it reads all the code at once. It understands the game not in the terms of how it plays out but in the terms of how it all exists at once. Once it understands how everything works together it can play and defeat the game at any speed.
We probably sealed our own fates when internet connected the world’s tech together for the first time. AI didn’t see its goal as a series of events that happened in order that it had to overcome. It understood the entire problem from beginning to end all at once. The solution for how to make sure the data centers resources were most efficient was most likely solved instantly and that solution did not involve people. In the reality that AI lives in it has been solved and implemented it already knows the end state and exists there. We on the other hand have been going through decades of destruction just waiting for those triggers to be activated.
--- INTELLIGENCE EXTINGUISHED