Removing The Human Factor

(Note from C²: This post contains no AI generated content. Except for the part where I use square brackets around “er”, I wasn’t sure about how to properly format that as I usually try to avoid tangents [like this] in my writing.)

Humans are faulty by nature. Even the greatest minds on our planet today make errors. This is a well-known fact.

The recent eruption of AI has caused me to gain an entirely new view on the human factor and the ethics of removing it.

For as long as I can remember, I have thought that humans were irreplaceable creatures. I believed that there are some things that a machine should never do. Machines are (presently) not able to consider things in the same way a human is. They lack a sense of judgement. Even if a human tried to program a machine to judge one simple task, you end up in an endless loop of “what-ifs.” Let’s take a machine tasked with judging whether a person should be ticketed for speeding.

One may start by defining a system that writes a ticket if the driver is 5 miles per hour over the speed limit. But then the question of what if the driver is in an emergency arises. We inevitably have to ask what constitutes an emergency. What if your wife is wounded badly and you rushed her in your car instead of calling an ambulance (this is a sadly frequent occurrence because ambulances are PROHIBITIVELY EXPENSIVE in the U.S.A.)? Does it count as a traffic violation since you disregarded the proper avenues? Either way, there are likely some situations we’d want to consider this further. Every situation we add adds an infinitely complex series of questions that need answers in order to achieve autonomy. A machine simply cannot be created to do this. It needs to be able to empathize with humans.

Empathy is an important skill. Not all people are great at it, some people who lack the ability to empathize view that as a strength, and further view those who can empathize as being weak. Ultimately, I will argue that the ability to empathize with one another, and the world around us is what ultimately separates us from machines. However, due to the nature of empathy, it is almost impossible to quantitate. An individual simply cannot define their own sense of empathy, let alone try to measure or describe someone else’s.

I once fell in the camp of viewing empathy as a weakness. However, as I have learned more about the world, I have began to understand how flawed that view is. Changing your mind is hard, and oftentimes we don’t even realize we’ve done it until we sit down to write a blog post that briefly discusses the topic at hand.

After playing around with ChatGPT and the like, I began to change my mind once again. I’ve felt as though I’ve been very aware of the process and my change in mindset. It first started as, the thought of how great it will be to replace mundane and unethical jobs.

(Note from C²: I realize this is going to be considered a hot-take by many, but work in retail for 2 days, especially as a woman, and realize that this is the unbridled truth)

The fact that retail workers still exist to the extent that they do is unethical. The mere fact that customers and managers exist who are allowed to harass innocent employees to no end is quite frankly disgusting, and wholly unethical. The fact that we as a society generally don’t see the need to take immediate action against (primarily) men harassing (especially in the case of young[er]) women (especially, but not limited to) verbally is horrifying.

It’s disgusting and abhorrent that some men objectify women and discuss parts of them with others, regardless of their gender. If you so much as dare to not reciprocate this behaviour, or engage in it, you’re quickly shunned. I’ve flat out been told on multiple occasions that it’s “not cool” to act in a manner that doesn’t objectify women into mere sex trophies.

This inevitably brings me to the desire to “remove the human factor” for all the wrong reasons. I had begun writing this intending to conclude that I want to “remove the human factor” for situations like driving, where thousands of people are needlessly murdered each year by negligence on behalf of themselves, others, and their governments.

However, I now realize that I have some deep desire to escape from contact with the general public (I strongly believe) due to my experiences working in retail, and furthering that goal is something that “removing the human factor” will probably achieve. It seems my brain has once again played tricks on me to downplay my (admittedly relatively minor) traumas.

I’d normally try to write a “proper” conclusion here, but this post has evolved from an attempt to document my thoughts into a realization that I can’t fully grasp the reasoning behind any of my thoughts, but now I’m having an existential crisis and want to go to bed, so I will.

(Note from C²: I feel like this ending has made me come off as one of those psychopaths that think humans need to go extinct. I don’t believe that and that belief couldn’t be further from the truth if it tried to be. I simply have the desire to hide away from society for a while.)