The Coldness of Artificial Intelligence
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is simulated intelligence (i.e., simulated human intelligence). AI is integrated into machines to mimic the thinking and behavioral processes of human beings. Although AI is often touted as being used to advance technology to meet future needs, capitalism and greed are usually the impetus for employing AI. The success of greedy capitalists is sometimes directly related to leadership’s ability to make company decisions without showing empathy or sympathy for its customers or employees—often described as cold-blooded decision-making. For-profit companies like Walmart are amongst the main supporters of AI advancements.
Walmart employs over 2.3 million associates worldwide. Walmart uses AI to replace humans in jobs such as cashier, inventory clerk, and grocery fulfillment clerk. Simultaneously, Walmart’s sales increased—even during the COVID pandemic. Although Walmart’s leadership claimed they replaced humans with AI solutions to satisfy their customers (i.e., to solve issues raised by their customers), increased sales and profits could reasonably be seen as motivators.
Walmart’s AI solutions have led to several customer complaints. Walmart’s inventory robots have been viewed as scary and an impediment to traversing the grocery aisles. The machine-controlled check-out process, euphemistically referred to as self-checkout, has been viewed as too challenging for the older populations. Some customers feel Walmart’s re-vision puts machines first. The human workers in Walmart appear to be mimicking the machines in some cases. According to some customers, the human workers block aisles while stocking shelves during peak shopping times leaving customers unable to reach needed grocery items. Walmart’s current leadership appears to have strayed away from the company founder’s (Sam Walton's) motto of the customer is always right and his vision of providing inexpensive goods to small-town markets.
Numerous other companies are viewed as being guilty of employing AI for profit without regard for the coldness of the ramifications. Some of the justifications used by those companies for replacing humans include the machines don’t complain, don’t need a break, don’t strike, and don’t ask for raises. Many of the companies that employ AI technologies to replace humans champion slogans like Buy America and pretend to want to increase the number of jobs in the USA. If the leaders of those companies cared about humans in America, they would champion efforts to replace the artificial humans with real ones.
Millions of jobs have been sacrificed due to AI and millions more will be lost over the next few decades. Some scientists believe robots will be as smart as humans by 2045. If true, world leaders might decide there will be too many unemployed humans within the next couple of decades. Those leaders might view the future overpopulation condition as problematic, a safety concern, and maybe a threat to national security. Those leaders might be contemplating ways of alleviating the impending problem which might include cold-blooded tactics such as culling—maybe even via some sort of pandemic.