Algorithms and Us

La Voz de Galicia – June 7, 2024 →

Cristina PatoPerhaps I have always been fascinated by the idea of being able to read other people’s minds. Not so much because I want to know what they are thinking, but because I want to be able to connect the emotions they express with their faces and bodies to the thoughts in their heads. However, nowadays, the more I think about it, the more I prefer not to know what people are thinking, because sometimes, when I read a news article on the internet, without wanting to (or maybe wanting to, I don’t know), I continue to read the comments, and there, hidden behind the anonymity of a user with a different name from their own, appear the saddest, cruelest, and most complex thoughts one can imagine. It’s curious to think about how rare it is sometimes to read a constructive comment or a reflection; the norm is a series of insults or sentences that contain all possible «isms,» which do not always show that the user has a formed opinion but simply display their anger, their frustration, or an emotion.

The more I think about the future of our society in the context of the already unstoppable artificial intelligence, the more it worries me that this algorithm that will end up dominating our lives might be educated or learn precisely from these comments, from these thoughts of anonymous (and not so anonymous) people who, with the filter of malice on, bring out the worst in themselves through words. Or worse still, that it learns from all the images of violence (both real and fictional) that circulate unchecked on the networks. For this algorithm, by taking the samples we provide, will spit out what we think, or what we tell it we think, through that same filter, and I suppose it will become increasingly difficult to reeducate it, and that is indeed frightening.

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