Artificial intelligence is better than no intelligence


Artificial intelligence is better than no intelligence

TINUS HORN says AI is the only sort of intelligence that works for him. So much so that he is convinced it will also work for President Cyril Ramaphosa.


My son scolded me at least twice last week because I'm so lavish and shameless in using artificial intelligence.

I am amazed. He has known me for about 30 years now, so one would think that by this time he would have realised the other kind doesn't work for me.

Even if he were right in principle, I stand my ground. I suspect he thinks artificial intelligence will herald the end of humanity. Not a moment too soon, that's what I say. Enough is enough.

I want to remind opponents of AI that things didn't turn out well for the original Luddites. They were English textile workers who were upset that new technology would take their jobs. They destroyed the relevant machinery. They were shot.

I recommend that modern-day Luddites watch Terminator 2 on Netflix.

But it's Friday, and on Fridays you don't get philosophical until you've had half a bottle of wine or three beers at dusk. Let's stick to sober thinking for now.

All right. Here's undeniable proof that the accusations levelled against artificial intelligence by some do not take all the facts into account.

I successfully used artificial intelligence recently.

It started when I asked a chatbot to fill out my tax form. Highly impressive! According to the chatbot, I should have received more than double the amount of money that arrived as a refund.

People warn on Facebook and such that chatbots sometimes make mistakes. Well, if my experience is anything to go by, I wish I were also occasionally wrong about something, but I understand that I am too old to learn that type of thing.

Anyway. Even before Jan Taks could pay my hard-earned salary with interest, there was an irritating knocking at my door. It wasn't my neighbour wanting to know when I would return the hot plate I borrowed two weeks earlier to make coffee quickly during load-shedding.

I assume she has since purchased a new one.

No, it was Inspector So-and-So from the Department of Whatever, and his sidekick who didn't introduce himself. Probably an assistant inspector or something.

Well, they also found fault with artificial intelligence. Those two waste too much time on Facebook, if you ask me.

No, they say they're not there to arrest me and order me to spend the rest of my life in solitary confinement, as my son would have wanted, unless I remove the chatbot app from my laptop.

It's just a routine investigation, they say, because apparently I made a mistake on my tax form, probably because I'm flipping old and all.

Just then, load-shedding kicked in. At least I could offer them coffee. I happened to have one of those hot plates.

I believe my chatbot was relieved. It meant they didn't have to bother their cyberheads with an affidavit. It also applied to the midnight escape plan they wouldn't have to work on for me if a court date were set.

By the way, I casually asked my friend Johann if I could hide on his farm in Tesselaarsdal if necessary until who-knows-what shifts the attention of the tax office to former president Jacob Zuma, who submitted his forged tax return long before chatbots were in fashion.

It made my thoughts wander in the general direction of presidents and an interesting idea came to mind: President Ramaphosa has surpassed Zuma recently as the country's biggest embarrassment. There are rumours that he now has his sights set on the scandalous legacy of President PW Botha.

CR didn't personally launch missiles at Ukrainian civilians and flatten village after village, and he didn't personally kidnap children and transport them across the Russian border. But when you kiss a war criminal's feet, as he and his cadres did again this week, you walk away with something very unpleasant on your lips.

“Kissing feet", by the way, is code for words that Vrye Weekblad, being proper as we are, will never publish.

Now, I wonder: is it possible to turn the artificial intelligence thing around so we see what comes out the other side when the chatbot inputs words into Ramaphosa's software?

Whatever it is, it can only be an improvement. I'm sure even my son would approve.


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