Saturday, June 27, 2020

The Rise of Pseudo-AI

I just read an article from back in 2018 that reports that much supposed AI is fake, because "it’s cheaper and easier to get humans to behave like robots than it is to get machines to behave like humans."

AI is expensive and it's hard, and in many cases (especially, though not exclusively for new start-ups), it's easier to have zillions of tiny people in your computer typing really fast to make it look like the computer's working automatic magic. Those people, more often than not, are drawn from the vast hordes working, for micropayments, within Amazon's Mechanical Turk set-up (here's the 18th(!!) century origin of the name, and here's more on Amazon's operation).
“In 2017, the business expense management app Expensify admitted that it had been using humans to transcribe at least some of the receipts it claimed to process using its “smartscan technology”. Scans of the receipts were being posted to Amazon’s Mechanical Turk crowdsourced labour tool, where low-paid workers were reading and transcribing them.

"I wonder if Expensify SmartScan users know MTurk workers enter their receipts,” said Rochelle LaPlante, a “Turker” and advocate for gig economy workers on Twitter. “I’m looking at someone’s Uber receipt with their full name, pick-up and drop-off addresses.”
It used to be that people would have all sorts of highly personal conversations in front of "the servants." They were like a lower form of life, so, somehow, they didn’t count.

Now we say lots of personal stuff in front of mechanical turk workers, whether disguised as AI or not. They don't seem to fully count. Really, that’s the new servant class.

No comments:

Blog Archive