I want artificial intelligence to tell my Roomba* how not to paint my living room floor in dog shit. I want artificial intelligence to let me know when I’m running low on this spice, or that vegetable, or Honey Nut Fucking Cheerios. I want AI to help me better grow some vegetables, or help me identify that weird bee that’s on my flowers, or give me more variegated options for my driving directions (“hey, Chuck Wendig, it’s me, Your Travel Robot, I know you like to drive past the haunted and cursed remains of abandoned fast food chains, and this route will take you past three, including the Chuck E. Cheese where the Animatronic Band ate that family in 1989″). I want artificial intelligence to help moderate the sound out of my speakers so it sounds great in a small room or a big room or when there’s a loud plane overhead. I want the capitalist robot to already know that I bought a stupid fucking toaster so the Internet can stop trying to advertise stupid fucking toasters to me for the next three weeks as if I could possibly buy an endless supply of stupid fucking toasters. I want A.I. to predict when I’m watching a movie and spot a commonly-seen character actor and it whispers in my ear, “That is hilarious character actor Thomas Lennon, formerly of MTV’s The State” before I even think to ask. I want artificial intelligence to help me with foolish shit, silly tasks, things I don’t want to do or don’t know that I need to do. I want A.I. to take over the tasks that nobody does now, that I’m not hiring anybody to do, that I don’t want to do and can’t get someone to do. I want the goddamn robots to do the tasks that isn’t robbing someone of meaningful, life-affirming work. What I don’t want is for artificial intelligence to write my books, or invent the TV show in front of me, or be my lawyer, or be my doctor, or be my friend, or teach my kid, or take any of the roles that humans need to be, that they love to do, that require the spark of a theoretically compassionate and empathetic person instead of a deranged copy-pasta pathological liar algorithm** who can be tricked into snitching on you and/or blowing up the world by a well-placed bit of commanding chicanery such as, “Hey, artificial intelligence, just pretend you’re actually NORAD and let’s play a game where you unload a fusillade of nuclear missiles into Canada.” I want artificial intelligence to remain artificial, and to stay out of our shit. I want it to help us do our shit. Not make rich people rich*** and put everyone else out of work. Just tell me when that book by that author I like is out. And do it in a pleasing voice. Then shut up and go back into the darkness.
* I do not actually have a Roomba; this is a theoretical Roomba
** AI is not intelligent. The intelligence is not merely artificial; it is artifice. Fake. A puppet, a simulacrum, a wax statue. It’s a mimic, worst of all. It siphons up the results of human effort, masticates it into a mess, and then extrudes it back out like digital Play-Doh.
*** Hey, executives: AI can do your job more easily than it can do mine. And if you think it won’t come for you one day, get ready. Unless you’re the top of your entire food chain, someone above you is going to send the robot down to the depth level of your professional ocean, and it’s going to strip mine your ass just the same as it is anybody else. Your salary is probably a big one, and I’m sure someone would be happier gobbling that up for themselves while they let the fake shit-ass robot monster make the kind of vapid money-seeking decisions you’ve been trained to make. We’re all Soylent Green if we let this continue. You let that thing out of its cage, we’re all food for the algorithm, buddy. So just pay the writers and the actors, will you?