█ On May 15th and 16th 2019 the annual fair „RISE OF AI“ will be held in Berlin. It is the largest fair for „Artificial Intelligence (AI)“ in Europe. In addition to companies that research and develop „AI“, there will also be political representatives who want to make Germany the leading development location for „AI“. Politicians have declared the „Year of AI“ and Berlin plays an important role in this field worldwide. This is another reason to address this technological attack against self-determination, in opposition to the ideas and structures of leading companies, institutions and their sacred masses. A focal point for all those who want to disrupt domination, control and heteronomativity. To the „RISE OF AI“ and beyond.
What is AI Anyway?
Nowadays, „artificial intelligence“ is a buzzword that attracts the attention of tech start-up companies, investors and the like. Throughout the years it has become a kind of magical belief projecting the dreams and nightmares about machines that become „intelligent“ and replace people… In reality, the term „AI“ describes many different ways in which computers are programmed (algorithms) to produce patterns and information, make choices and decisions.
One particular type of „AI“ algorithm has become one of capitalism‘s new flagships: „Machine Learning“ algorithms. Machine learning algorithms are trained on the basis of initial data sets to determine models that will be used further to identify and classify objects, images, words, behaviors, etc. Such training data sets are usually not subject to investigation and are formed by people according to their existing prejudices. For example, women and people affected by racism are much less present in training data, as they are often invisible and disempowered in society. In practice, machine learning algorithms often produce their results in completely non-transparent environments (non-public algorithms and training data running remotely on a company‘s server farm) acting like a magical „black box“ that even the creators themselves fail to understand and that over time reinforce distortions.
These algorithms are now routinely associated with the mass collection and exploitation (mostly unintentionally) of personal and behavioral data that forms the basis of „surveillance capitalism“. Machine learning models are therefore used to make decisions that can potentially have a critical impact on many aspects of people‘s lives.
The Spread in Everything
AI, among other factors, is in the process of changing the economy and society through strong automation processes. Whether in assemblage, education, medicine, services such as call centres or drivers, and also the further technologicalization of the military such as navigating self-killing drones – the AI takes over. AIs are used by most major service providers on the net, such as Google, Facebook and Amazon. In the future, we can expect most devices or things to be equipped with sensors that are connected via the Internet to the server farms of large companies („Internet of Things – IoT“). AI is needed to process this amount of data, and AI needs this big data, as well as infrastructure like a 5G network or fiber optic cable. In addition, consumers are being accustomed to certain standards bit by bit, which then quickly become supposedly indispensable. We are currently seeing this, for example, with the constant connection via mobile phone, smartphone or establishing „relationships“ via Facebook. Soon it will be voice control of all devices or the personal assistant that manages your life. Both need AI in order to analyze, process and react to your input. Well, many people praise these developments as helpful, progressive and as a tool to promote individuality and shared communication. But let‘s take a closer look at what AI is doing and how it is used.
The Collection of Your Life
A self-learning AI always needs Big Data, that is, huge amounts of data of the respective function it is supposed to learn. Such data is based on our environment, people‘s lives and their actions. So everything is captured, converted into data and stored. Especially „autonomous“ concepts such as „autonomous“ driving capture everything within reach with every possible camera and sensor, and store this data in the provider‘s cloud. AI therefore always means total collection, conservation and categorisation. Nobody knows what will happen to all the photos, geodata and content stored on the servers of AI. There is no longer any intention of forgetting. Control is an important aspect here, for it is essential to all domination, always concentrating power instead of allowing conflict and process, free agreement and mutuality as the basis of free living. Control enables a process in favour of those who have the power or are using control to get power. Automated facial recognition, searching web content, or any other control based on broad data collection needs AI. The more data is available to an AI, the more efficient it becomes. So we always pay for AI and Big Data with the disclosure of private data and the limitation of our freedom of choice and freedom of movement. AI in turn sorts the data and makes it usable and controllable. After all, the digital exploitation of time, habits, relationships, etc. through the collection of information is not only based on collection and control, but also on feedback, influence and guidance. It is not that we are all entirely controlled by AI. But AI already has a considerable influence on the information we find, on our decisions, who we communicate with, and sometimes on the needs and desires created. We should learn that pleasant and practical are not equal and often even prevent independence, self-determination and freedom.
In addition, AIs are intended to replace human functions and abilities. In the future, work will probably become more automated and thus be done by fewer but more specialized people. And still the required materials will probably be taken out of the earth and also disposed of by people in non-industrial nations under terrible conditions. A further concentration of power, the development of which can already be seen today in the increasing influence of large companies. Specialization always puts these „chosen ones“ in powerful positions and this development will intensify drastically.
The Artificial Isolation Within You
Moreover, through AI, domination and power are increasingly interfering with our needs, preferences and social life. They efficiently take over actions that previously required effort and social engagement. This assistance deprives the individual further of self-determination and autonomy. If certain tasks no longer pose a challenge to the individual, the ability to cope with them dulls. Those who mainly conduct relationships online will have social problems offline, those who always use a routing AI will not be able to find their way without it, let alone the idea of asking other people. These are very simple examples of the dependencies that are being created and that we get used to. It becomes more and more difficult to do without technological prostheses, until maybe one day we become the prosthesis of AI. We also have to deal with each other, especially if we want to live together at eye level. This includes conflicts and interactions that can, however, simply be clicked away on our devices. So you could say that AI promotes laziness and cowardice, while freedom requires courage and individual initiative. In addition, AIs determine the framework in which we operate and direct our focus when, for example, we „google“ or get suggestions on Facebook for people we might know. Those who get used to it forget the freedom to develop, evaluate and decide for themselves. The choice, however, is the crucial moment, not the one when the finger pulls the trigger. Freedom of action requires freedom of decisions, AI structures are always closed spaces that dictate how far I can move. And what if the electricity breaks down? How helpless can one become? The extreme dependence on capitalist structures, on specialists and assistants always constrains my self-determination under the pretext of revealing a brave new world to me. But its the world of those who profit, keep the control and turn us into junkies wrapped in a net.
But if we imagine how the development of hardware and data accumulation is progressing, AI could gain enormous power in the future. Or those who have programmed them or are controlling them. Today‘s AIs are still far from being truly intelligent, but what if one day they are able to rewrite themselves? What if they had access to sensitive infrastructure such as nuclear power plants and would consider humans too inefficient? Total belief in progress, the improvement of technologies is being driven by these very people and structures because they know it benefits them. But efficiency and progress are not the same as freedom, joy and happiness. These qualities are not necessarily dependent on material things; they arise from individual development, collective intelligence, and social interaction. So these things have to be practiced, and if the technological attack prevents it, I have to take the initiative and cut the ropes of the net.
The development and use of AI is ONE tool of technological attack. The structures of power are rearranging, exploitation and control are becoming more refined, subtle, psychologically sophisticated, initially more pleasant, more comfortable and, above all, more practical. At the same time, the degree of control and influence on all areas of life is increasing. A dream for all people and organizations that hold power over others. The complex technologies that are so practical, yet rob us of our autonomy, are used to expand or restructure existing hierarchies, and not to give quality to our lives. Designed to add value at the expense of users and producers who are heavily deceived. That is the machine-like precision and perfection that human life fortunately can never have.
The ideas, people and structures that are transforming the world in this sense are vulnerable. Ideas and practices of empowerment and self-organization can be expressed in texts and attacks against those responsible, in conflict with others, as well as by sabotaging cameras and networks, which are spreading sensitively everywhere.
Companies that work on AI and other scurvy:
“Die Rückkehr der künstlichen Intelligenz” bei capulcu.blackblogs.org
“My little Big Brother” bei anarchistischebibliothek.org
“Schöne neue Welt” bei anarchistischebibliothek.org
PDF Zine (German & English text):