Naomi Klein: “The biggest robbery in the history of humanity”

By | May 16, 2023

“We trained the machines. All of us. But we never gave our consent.” In her lengthy article for The Guardian, celebrated Canadian author Naomi Klein, who in her book “Shock Doctrine” analyzed the tactics of “disaster capitalism”, turns on the CEOs of genetic AI. (generative AI) and his “phalanx of fans”.

In the post, Klein, among other things, refers to the “theft” of human knowledge by technology gurus so that chatbots give “fabricated answers” and often “completely wrong”. Algorithmic garbage, as he describes it.

“Like, for example, when you ask a robot for a definition of something that doesn’t exist and, quite convincingly, it gives you a complete one, with footnotes ready,” he says.

“Personalize our individuality”

The richest companies in history (Microsoft, Apple, Google, Meta, Amazon…) are unilaterally hoarding all the human knowledge that exists in digital and editable form and lock it inside in corporate products, Klein complains. Direct target, “those same people, who with their works trained the machines, without giving their permission or consent.”

“They feed off humanity’s collective ingenuity, inspiration and discovery (along with our most depraved traits), Klein says of chatbox industry gurus. Their models are appropriation machines, devouring and privatizing our individual lives as well as our collective intellectual and artistic legacies.

The industry’s favorite legend…

“AI zealots, while acknowledging the fallibility of their machines, feed the industry’s most cherished myth: that by building these grand language models and training them on everything humans have ever written, said, and visually represented, they are in the process of giving birth to a living intelligence ready to spark an evolutionary leap for our species.”

But “their goal was never to solve the problem of climate change or to make our governments more accountable or our daily lives more relaxed,” Klein says. undermining “delusions” being cultivated that generative AI intelligence will be beneficial.

“The goal has always been to benefit from mass impoverishment”

“There is a world where artificial intelligence, as a powerful tool for research and predictive execution, could be used to benefit humanity. But For this to happen, these technologies will have to develop within an economic and social order very different from ours; which will have as its objective the satisfaction of human needs”, argues the author, and continues:

“But as we understand it, our current system has nothing to do with it. Instead, it is designed to maximize the extraction of wealth and profit, both from humans and from the natural world. In this reality of hyper-concentrated power and wealth, AI, far from living up to all these utopian illusions, is much more likely to become a terrifying tool of further plunder and plunder.

“The goal has always been, the benefit of the massive impoverishment that, under capitalism, will be the flagrant and logical consequence of the replacement of human functions by robots’.

Legitimation with the “break”

“In the case of the copyrighted material that we now know trained the AI ​​models, several lawsuits have been filed arguing that this is clearly illegal,” recalls Klein, who is later quoted. to the maneuvers of technology companies to legitimize their intentions.

“The trick, of course, is that Silicon Valley generally calls theft a ‘break’, and quite often gets away with it. We know this movement: you’re trespassing on lawless territory, claiming the old rules don’t apply to your new technology, shouting that legislation will only help China, all while having your data firmly on the ground.

Until we all get over the novelty of these new rules and begin to take stock of the social, political and economic disasters, the technology is already so widespread that courts and legislators are giving up.”

“Don’t ask for permission, ask for forgiveness”

And the triggering article continues: “We saw this with Google’s book and art scan. With Musk’s space colonization. With Uber’s attack on the taxi industry. With Airbnb’s attack on the rental market. With the carelessness of Facebook with our data. Don’t ask for permission, disruptors like to say, ask for forgiveness.

In the book The age of surveillance capitalism, Shoshana Zuboff details how Google’s Street View maps have defied privacy rules by sending their cars with cameras to photograph our public streets and the exteriors of our homes. Until lawsuits are filed to defend privacy rights, Street View was already so widespread on our devices (and so cool and so convenient…) that few courts outside of Germany were willing to intervene.

Now the same thing that happened to the outside of our homes is happening to our words, our images, our songs, our entire digital lives. All are currently confiscated and used to train machines to simulate thinking and creativity.”

The conclusion; “These companies need to know that they are stealing, or at least that a strong case can be made that they are. Simply hope the old manual will work once again – that the scale of the theft is already so vast and unfolding with such speed that courts and lawmakers will once again give up on the supposed inevitability of it all.”

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