Beware...AI has arrived.
The pros and cons of Artificial Intelligence.
Who do you think is really writing this blog?
Yay! I'm back on line at last with a different blogging handle. But that is not all that's new. When designing the new front page , suddenly from out of the blue came some suggested phrases to fit my theme. They were artfully crafted, and well written , and I began to wonder whether my own sentences were inadequate. So, did I adopt these suggestions: creations of artificial intelligence, and totally unprocessed by the human brain? Dear blog reader, I shall leave you to work that out for yourself.
Fired by AI.
A new report by campaign group Worker Info Exchange, has highlighted a recent phenomenon in which low paid gig workers have found themselves instantly dismissed by their ap for supposed misdemeanours. They highlight a group of Just Eat drivers in Britain who had been shown to have falsely claimed payment for periods spent outside restaurants, while waiting for customers' orders to be prepared. The amounts concerned averaged no more than a couple of pounds. Moreover, although the ap showed that they were not present outside the restaurant, they had in fact been asked to wait a short distance away. Their claims had been genuine . When trying to appeal, workers found that the company was immutable . It would appear that artificial intelligence reigns supreme. As the general secretary of the TUC said: “These cases show how vulnerable workers are to new technologies. AI is being used to make life-changing decisions like who gets hired and who gets fired. But employment law is not keeping pace.”
AI in medical diagnosis
Yesterday I went to a local radiology centre for an XRay. Where once I would have waited to register with the receptionist, I was faced with a screen. After inputting my green 'carte vitale,' the electronic card that gives me access to French healthcare, I followed the impersonal written instructions before me. I duly found a slot which swallowed up my 'ordonnance' or doctor's prescription, and a numbered ticket was issued. After a short wait, an actual human being appeared who duly conducted the X Ray procedure. From there however all human contact ended. Later that day I received my X Ray pictures over the internet along with a written analysis. I am left wondering whether this was made by a medical professional or a bot. Whilst I feel confident that AI is becoming a powerful tool in medical diagnosis, I do seek human reassurance.
There is nothing that upsets me more than the plight of the powerless . Like those Just Eat drivers who were unable to argue their case, there are millions of people who are left crying in wind when trying to seek justice or fair treatment, be it from a bot or a fellow human being. Whilst it brings me joy to learn of a falsely accused prisoner finally gaining a pardon, I know that there are many thousands of people wrongfully imprisoned, in every corner of the world. Just look at 'The Birmingham Six.' I shudder to think of a world in which most major decisions are made without the subtleties of human interpretation or compassion.
The plight of the powerless
The Windrush Scandal.
In my novel 'Because You Were There,' Tina finds herself in a similar position. Without doubt she is a British citizen, but however much she insists on this , no one at the immigration removal centre believes her. It is impossible to imagine how she must have felt, whisked away from her home and family without any means of contacting them, and threatened with immediate deportation to a country that she last saw at the age of ten. She was subjected to a set of blind rules, and it would take an immigration lawyer to point out the inconsistencies that had been built into the system.
AI or Human being ?
Last week we found ourselves in the offices of the port authority (capitainerie) at Cap d'Agdes. We were waiting to be allocated a new 'place du port,' (or mooring) for our boat , supported by our 'honest broker'(see 7th April) But all was not going to plan, and rules were being applied that he was not happy with. 'Fonctionnaires,' he muttered, raising his eyebrows in despair. Whether in France, or elsewhere, sometimes even humans can be as inflexible as machines.