There is a lot of buzz around at the moment about Artificial Intelligence (AI) taking over everyone’s jobs and destroying society. I have largely thought of this as I imagine people in the early 1900’s thought of the on-coming motor age. We now know (lots of) new jobs were created tra-la-la. However, a lightbulb was illuminated recently when I thought about the fact that AI is not one singular entity but rather a collection of micro-ai.


Prior to the last couple of months, I had envisioned one enormous all-encompassing General AI. This is often considered to be in the hands of a multinational corporation or government. Add white cats on laps and you have your class Bond scenario. The lightbulb moment came when I realised that we are already being directed by AI. I drive everywhere with the aid of Google Maps. I listen to podcasts based on what Breaker recommends. I buy whatever Amazon wants me to (not really but you get the idea). My point is that in large parts of daily life today, in 2018 we are “subservient” to AI. I don’t fear it but I am mindful of the computerphile’s Deadly Stamp Machine video


In Sapiens Harari describes how wheat has made farmers change their behaviour. Clearly, it would be normal to think that the relationship was the other way around. In reality is seems fair to question exactly who is controlling whom.