The AI industry has proven itself incredibly adept at deflecting interest from real harms to hypothetical ones, like the “risk” that the spicy autocomplete will become conscious and take over the world in order to convert us all to paperclips – Hypothetical AI election disinformation risks vs real AI harms

In Number Go Up , Zeke says something we should remember to pay attention to all the time. Zeke has been an investigative reporter for years and he has continued to find one thing true. If someone had a scam running at some point in the past, they are likely to have a scam running now, you just have to keep digging1.

In the quote linked above, Cory Doctorow cites numerous real time today ways that AI is causing harms to workers, students, regular people. People went to jail, students were accused of cheating and very little has been done about it as tech companies continue to try and deflect our concerns about real-world harms today by telling us they’re “very worried” about future theoretical harms that we should pay more attention to.

This continues to feel like the manufactured doubt strategy smoking companies used at one point. They funded studies showing that things outside of smoking were far more important to worry about and regulate, thereby deflecting the real world current harm they knew they were doing to people in favour of some theoretical harm they wanted us to pay attention to instead.

We should extend Zeke’s rule about scammers to AI and big tech companies. If they’ve done a bunch of stuff in the past that has harmed people, and our economy, and our access to news2, that is exactly what they’re going to do in the future. We should stand now against their current harms to society and stop them from doing anything further until they’ve stopped these current harms.

  1. Number Go Up Pg 39 ↩︎
  2. Think about Facebook’s video grift that cost newsrooms huge amounts of money ↩︎

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