When our machines have machinations
Don’t look now, but your boss could be a logarithm with sibilant ‘fire’ power.
However, as the child is said to be the father of the man, the children of the human brain can become the masters of men, and women. Sci-fi has long spun scary scenarios in which robots enslave the human race, and recent reports suggest that life might ominously be imitating art. Computer programs monitor employees, second by second in real time, and assess their individual performances.
In effect, these cyber-snoops have become super-bosses who rate and reward, or punish, human endeavour by increasingly taking charge of the hiring and firing of the staffers, who often can’t even appeal to any higher authority. Isaac Asimov postulated that robots, powered with artificial intelligence (AI), can never harm humans.
The problem with AI is that it can on occasion be just artificial, as underscored by the story of the passengers on a pilotless aircraft who received a recorded message from the cockpit, “This is a fully automated flight in which there is no chance of human error and nothing can go wrong… nothing can go wrong… nothing can go wrong…