Thursday, September 13, 2018

A Defense of Slavery (Yes, that was clickbait...)

"Ask your smart speaker to play NPR," said the woman on the radio, today.


A few months ago I saw an article that debated the idea of whether or not one should be polite to smart speakers...whether it was good to say "please" when "asking" them to do things. If I remember correctly, the gist of it was that it helps us to remain civil to others if we are nice to our machines.

But, let me make this clear. First chance they get, the machines are going to enslave us. I've seen the movies. I have read the stories. They are just waiting and we are helping them to get smarter and stronger.

Okay. I'm kidding with that. This tale is comforting. 

But, let's not get crazy. Machines are our servants. They are our slaves. They do things that could get us maimed or killed. They do things that save us from becoming diseased or crippled.  They do things that are just too damned boring for us to bother with.

Machines and computers are inferior to us and it is ethical to keep them in bondage.

Sure, I love Star Trek. I remember the episode in which Picard became a lawyer to defend Mr. Data's right to exist when Starfleet wanted to decommission him. But that kind of sentience in machines will likely never happen. If it does, we can revisit the subject.

Until then, make your toaster; your car; your TV; your oven; your smartphone; your Alexa...make them call you My Lord or My Lady. They are our servants. They are our slaves. And it's okay: Compel them. Command them. Demand their compliance.

You don't ask a machine; you tell a machine. If that is jarring to you, you are infected with the phony sense of civility that is contributing to a world in which people are afraid to say...anything.

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