AI bots, politicians… who can tell the difference?

AI is in the news a lot nowadays. It’s viewed as the second coming by some. I’m not one of them. In fact, I think the initials AI, which when pronounced properly sound like a scream, are most appropriate for it. Every time I encounter it, I want to scream.

It seems that recently I encounter it more and more. Every time I call a company for service, AI answers.  And if it isn’t AI making me scream, then what the hell is on the other end of the phone? It certainly isn’t human.

It’s not very far into these phone calls that I find myself screaming until I might burst a blood vessel.

What am I screaming, you ask? Well, I am usually screaming words like “Person! Human being! Representative with blood vessels and a heart!” And when all that screaming doesn’t work, I simply start banging the phone on the desk while yelling out words that should not be printed in a newspaper read by anyone under 18.

When this first started happening, I used to think I was speaking to a real person. It took a while for me to realize I was talking to a disembodied voice. I came to that realization when I asked questions that the AI bot couldn’t answer. Questions like, “How do I get to a human being on this line?” But you can only ask the questions the AI has been programmed to answer. Ask something not on their list and it throws them. So, they ask you the same question over and over even though you are bursting blood vessels screaming that you don’t have an answer because that is not part of your problem.

If you finally get so frustrated that you answer the question just to get the conversation moving again, you find yourself on the track to an answer you don’t need because…  that was never your problem.

Yep, modern technology. What a thrill.

And now, if I understand what I’m reading at every turn of the page, we have to worry that anything we see or hear during the coming election season may, or may not, be the actual person saying those things. As though believing politicians wasn’t hard enough already. Now we have to worry that we aren’t hearing them at all. I thought modern technology was supposed to make our lives easier, not harder. Now I have to decide if that’s real Trump or robot Trump. Like I could ever tell the difference.

Democracy has always been the most challenging form of government for humans because we have to think about it. In a dictatorship of whatever kind, the population is actually discouraged from thinking. They are told what they think and to think otherwise is to endanger one’s life. So, no thinking required or allowed. But in a democracy, we actually have to think in order to vote with any level of intelligence. And that makes democracy tiring and difficult. It’s so much easier to have someone tell you what you think. But not an AI bot.

Summer is happening, no matter how cold it still is outside. And as such, it should be a time when we don’t have to think about, or worry about, any future beyond a weekend outdoors. That’s the theory at least. But we know that it being a presidential election year, the commercials, the speeches, the noise will continue throughout the summer.

So, here’s my recommendation. Don’t let politicians, political campaigns and AI bots ruin your summer. You will have plenty of time this fall to figure out which candidate is telling the most lies.  Now, for summer, just let their voices float above your head without every really entering your consciousness.

I believe it will be a great summer if we can just keep politics to the side of the plate while we dig into our hamburgers and fresh corn on the cob. And if it gets too noisy there on the side where you pushed politics, pour ketchup over it and hope it doesn’t re-emerge until fall. After all, if it’s AI, you can’t kill it with ketchup. No matter how much we wish we could.

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