Editorial – June 2023: AI Or Bust: Computer Reliance And Complacency.

Hello everyone,

Our reliance on computers has changed drastically in the past 30 years. Its more unusual if someone doesn’t have some way to access the Internet than not in the west, although the likes of Android is more of a substitute for a home computer, depending on needs. Geekwise, there’s a fair bet we all prefer computers or even have both. For many, we’ve grown with their computers, mostly upgrading as they die or just to stay ahead and certainly need Internet connection to pay bills and their like today.

What we used to do purely by paper can now be done digitally, although it is worrying some companies only want to do it by the latter and removing choice because they think it saves money over the number of customers they have. One can only hope they learn the lesson the hard way. Afterall, technology should give choices not take them away. Even as a computer user, I don’t want it to dominate everything. A major catastrophe to the network would paralyse the world.

If anything, our computer usage is making us too complacent. We accept changes without questioning who and why. Even Microsoft doesn’t tell us enough about their Windows updates, even if much of it is just security issues. There certainly needs to be updates in showing the percentage install times when it can apparently freeze at 20, 40 or even 100% as certain actions take longer than others. I once would never have dreamed of leaving my computer in sleep mode overnight but some updates are done even in that mode.

Editorial – June 2023: AI Or Bust: Computer Reliance And Complacency.
Editorial – June 2023: AI Or Bust: Computer Reliance And Complacency.

Nothing is truly turned off unless you press the off switch. As we accept that, we have to assume at least all the bigger companies are working in our interest as much as making a profit. To not do so would be to lose our custom and trust, even if with some software there is little choice. Even if you choose to use Linux and other operating systems out there, you still have to have trust in people to make honest software. Let’s not even go where the dark web lies.

My small piece mid-May about Google’s upcoming essay writer violates so much from unauthorised permission to copyright infringement and not paying for any rights. In its own way, by being world-wide, international barriers and laws are somewhat lax. You only have to be registered through a foreign country with fewer laws to get away with so much. Some countries have access region-restricted websites that keeps out the rest of the world’s knowledge, one of them actually belongs to the USA. No wonder those who belong to it think there is little beyond their own country. Although I doubt you’re on one of those, if you know any who are, they them they need to change their server or at least have a home page that is on a more accessible server to the world.

What is under-estimated in all of this is computer companies forgetting basic rights. They’re also forgetting some things that need a reassessment and improvement. On-line, information is power. Alas, there is also a lot of fake news and misinformation and certainly needs a clearing house in their nascent AI software to only use honest resources that are regularly verified. It isn’t even brain science. The Internet needs to be better than it currently is. This does not remove personal opinion, just the ability to tell what is factually accurate.

Remember that when you read 2% of the American population, that’s 6,638,000 people, still currently believes the Earth is flat. The Net has to be reliable and show the correct information and evidence when asked. I doubt if it will change all their minds but to not do anything, let alone various essay software unknowingly use misinformation shows a genuine lack of standards. Should we look at the number of people who don’t understand evolution and other science that we take for granted, the numbers are just plain scary on misinformation.

The Internet has to be a guiding light. If the big companies want to improve their standing then this kind of mess needs to be sorted. Software-wise, it would be a relatively simple matter to compare to established facts and flash up on screen accuracy levels. I’m using this as an example of the types of thing that really should be done than idiotic things that have not been thought through properly first. Do we really want to look like the inmates have taken over the asylum just because they wear suits?

The reason why I’m targeting the big companies like Microsoft and even Google is if they do the right thing then the others will follow their template example. There needs to be at least some level of sensibility with any business plan even down to such simple things as single identities and trackability which would wipe out some aspects of crime on the Net.

The current by-word at all these companies right now is AI, although they are automated, they are not true Artificial Intelligence but algorithms and they certainly don’t speak for themselves. It’s even cropped up in the latest version of Word, sometimes anticipating what I’m likely to type, which does act as a spelling aid, but then goes into a loop until I decide what I’m actually going to be typing because it can’t second guess me. Even so, I would still recommend a second read-through of whatever you’re likely to send out because occasionally I spot the odd letter change that I certainly didn’t select. Thankfully, MS kept one old-fashioned action from its earlier word processors in that a second correct isn’t changed back. Even so, such changes need to be announced or even highlighted rather than just include automatically in updates and not even detailed not to leave the Help screen saying ‘Something went wrong, try again later.’

The Science Fiction version of AIs ruling the world is it’s first task is to remove illogical humans that don’t conform. Although I doubt if the likes of Skynet will send a time-travelling Terminator to eliminate me or any other AI protestors, something more hideous is now occurring. As witnessed by those appearing from Google wanting to put their essay writing software, like ParagraphAI with other names and makes available out there, grab from websites without permission and copyright invasion and no financial incentive to participate so you don’t have to look at said websites.

It might appear to make writing school essays easy but these so-called AI software can’t distinguish whether something is true or not, which also means your sprogs of any age, unless they are smart enough to check are likely to get poor grades compared to those who write them the old-fashioned way. Only the Illuminati knows if such essays were applied in the work place and had information that was totally wrong. We need people who can think for themselves and know the information than having a patsy sit in for them, let alone relying on ‘AI’ software to do the work for them. The inmates would really have taken over the asylum if that is allowed to happen.

Something firms need to come to terms with is deciding to downsize staff drastically with software with AI qualities is where will the employment that will enable people to buy their products. You can’t reorientate computer/IT training for everyone simply because not everyone is geared that way, let alone have the equipment. This change isn’t like the industrial revolution. Putting people out of work doesn’t immediately create new jobs for them to fill. Humans need proper jobs that they can some fulfilment to rather than just feeding the computers. Don’t forget, a lot of mainframe business programs, especially in the banking business, are fix-ups of old programs simply because they don’t want to buy up-to-date programs which is why errors crop up when something unexpected throws them.

There is a need for Internet firms to be culpable in all their business plans and give choices as to whether we accept changes willy-nilly. None of which is helped when other software firms follow with the same pattern later on because they don’t want to be left out.

When you consider that selling websites have a ratings for customer satisfaction, then it should be compulsory for all websites but up to you whether you fill it in or not. Of course, there will always be dissatisfaction for anything, that’s the nature of humans, but it should be more than a star system so you know why. It’s a common thing and although a company can present their cases, they should not be able to remove comments.

Before anyone asks, yes, I’m aware of the need to update software as a means to get new customers but sellability is invariability down to having a good product rather than being the standard. Just in case you think I don’t keep a watch on new products, about the only thing new I’ve seen in recent years was Epson doing their Eco-Tank printers to cut down on so much plastic being used with small cartridges. Some of the other printer firms have now followed suit but you don’t see massive promotion of them yet. Probably because people don’t see the economics that it might be a more expensive printer but considering it takes at least 700 pages before filling the tanks that it’s a lot cheaper.

Oh, if you start spotting examples contrary to what I’ve said above, I found something similar happening just after doing the draft of this editorial. I think your head will just tune into such examples but always remember these are out-numbered by the actual number on-line. They don’t all follow the best patterns.

The same with medical scanning. AI is the byword in the press but its not really AI because its not intelligent just sensible algorithms looking for configurations. A computer scan does not get tired but it still needs human verification. We should never be taken out of the equation.

It’s time to take a serious look at the kind of software we are getting and if it isn’t doing what you think it should be doing, then protest. We need to filter out the bad software.

Thank you, take care, good night and let’s not have a HAL moment.

Geoff Willmetts


A Zen thought: Anger needs to be motivated.

What Qualities Does A Geek Have: To assess reality as it really is.

The Reveal: Where does Wonder Woman park her invisible plane? At the invisible airport.

Observation: Considering Superman can fly, why is all his stuff in the Fortress of Solitude on the ground instead of taking advantage of the walls and ceilings? I mean, its not as though he has many visitors there.

Quandary: So where do the bullets deflected by Wonder Woman’s bracelets go and why have they never accidentally killed anyone?

Computer Observation: I don’t know if this is a regular thing or not but I do have a solution. On the W11 menu bar, if the icons aren’t visible but you can still access the software there but find it a pain that you can’t see them then the solution is simple and no reboot. Turn on the Task Manager, select the File Explorer and get it to restart. Simple as that.

 Observation: There’s an interesting flaw in the Thunderbird 2 launch sequence. When Virgil Tracy reaches the hanger, the final part is an enclosed tube. So how come this isn’t reflected in the close-up and nary a light there?

 Dialogue giggle: For ever bad police protocol, back in 1935, there was a film called ‘The Riverside Murder’ and it was played straight than for laughs. The best line and I’m noting it here to eternalise it is the detective phoning his boss with this line, ‘I have all the evidence but the proof.’

 Jokingly: Just to cheer you up and this will mostly only be recognised by our English audience unless you have access to BBC’s TV series ‘The Repair Shop’. I doubt if they’ll repair my guillotine, especially as I don’t want the dried blood removed from the blade and them being less likely to test it afterwards. The chap who sold it to me said it was used on the royalty. Marie-Antoinette was said to have said, ‘By gum, lad’. She was from Yorkshire. ‘By gum, lad, that was sharp.’

 Feeling Stressed: Read the editorial again and feel glad you have something to be stressed about.



Geoff Willmetts has been editor at SFCrowsnest for some 21 plus years now, showing a versatility and knowledge in not only Science Fiction, but also the sciences and arts, all of which has been displayed here through editorials, reviews, articles and stories. With the latter, he has been running a short story series under the title of ‘Psi-Kicks’ If you want to contribute to SFCrowsnest, read the guidelines and show him what you can do. If it isn’t usable, he spends as much time telling you what the problems is as he would with material he accepts. This is largely how he got called an Uncle, as in Dutch Uncle. He’s not actually Dutch but hails from the west country in the UK.

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