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AI Dystopia: an increasingly totalitarian society dominated by artificial intelligence and characterized by oppression, suffering, and injustice.
AI and dystopia are thematic plays that often go hand in hand. The Butlerian Jihad chronicled in the Duna saga and the pre-crime department as shown in the film Minority Report are some of the more superior fictional works on how advances in AI can lead to catastrophic consequences for society.
Of course, not everyone agrees with the thesis that advances in AI are guaranteed to lead to adverse outcomes, pointing to the meteoric increase in economic productivity that can then lead to increased leisure and a more prosperous society in general. For AI advocates, humans are just too mercurial and impulsive and driven by base desires to elevate our society to anything approaching a nirvana, which necessitates the existence of a neutral arbiter in the form of artificial intelligence.
For now, however, this interplay between the proponents and opponents of AI continues. Over the weekend, a job rejection letter went viral on the anti-work thread of Reddit. The supposedly AI-generated letter flagged the applicant’s birth date, which falls on 4/20 and alludes to a cannabis cultural slang, as the precipitating cause for rejection.
Readers should note that this letter is quite likely to be fake. Recruiters generally refrain from giving written feedback to applicants so as to preclude the possibility of a subsequent lawsuit. Nonetheless, this letter – fake or not – does manage to evoke the kinds of fear that emanate from the notion of heartless AI overlords dictating every facet of our lives in the near future.
With every passing day, we move a step closer to AI singularity – an epochal threshold where artificial intelligence (AI) demonstrably exceeds human intelligence – as these models gain the ability to contextualize an ever-increasing quantum of information, leading to potentially draconian outcomes.
Imagine receiving a similar letter one day that flags a social media post of your aberrant teenage to reject your application for a job decades later. With recruiters increasingly relying on sophisticated AI models to sift through tons of job applications, this scenario is quite likely to turn into a reality, barring regulatory checks imposed specifically against such outcomes.
Do you feel apprehensive about the growing role of AI in almost every facet of our lives? Do you think there is a need to introduce regulatory checks against AI-induced prejudice in decision-making? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.