NO DOUBT you've heard of Elon Musk - Tesla cars, moon rockets, South Australia's massive battery, a supposed business genius. He has massive fear about robots and AI - artificial intelligence.
He's so concerned about it that he wants to connect our brains to computers to turn us into cyborgs.
I'm struggling to understand that logic. After all, won't the cyborg need some AI as well as computing power?
But this week some news out of the US may have confirmed his fear. Stanford University AI researchers put their tool onto the job most suited to solving the world's problems. They had to pick a problem to start on and they could have picked plastics in the ocean, equal rights for all, food crises, environmental disasters and the possibility of nuclear war or so many others.
But they picked the key problem the world faces - dating. They applied their tool to facial recognition for dating and found it was more accurate than humans at determining whether the man or woman on the screen is gay or straight just by showing it a photo.
Show it five or so photos and the accuracy zooms. Artificial intelligence gaydar.
I can see religious schools using it so they don't have to sack newlyweds later.
Some people believe that one day facial recognition will be able to pick your health status and your mental health status. Great! They also think it will be able to pick your political orientation. That should be handy for people who really need it.
The scene: Sydney Airport two years from now, thousands of people wait, some patiently. A US Border Guard is stationed here to save you an unnecessary flight - they can dash your hopes here and keep you from becoming a nuisance on US soil.
"No mate, you can't board. The US government looked at your pic and you fit the profile of a Democrat voter. Next!"
Their travelling companion steps forward.
"Ah, according to the computer you no longer believe simple solutions can save the world. Most likely a disgruntled Abbott/Trump supporter, the computer says. Next!"
And so it goes. Suspicion by computer.
And our own government is steadily putting together photos from our driving licences with our Medicare details and building a database of Australians so we can log in securely.
So put that with outsourcing and next thing you know the private sector has access to the database. But it will be safe. Of course it will. Just get back to your instagramming and facebooking, the government will look after this.
So maybe Musk is right and we need to think about this before the government puts too much data into any more databases. Artificial intelligence is an easy tool for hacking them.
What about using natural intelligence on the problem? Natural intelligence in government? That would take effort. I think we need to vote some in.
Maybe someone could develop an artificial intelligence app for picking the best politicians. Ideally it will be here - and thoroughly debugged - before we all vote again.
Pollie Tickled is a satirical column.
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