The engineers changed their plans. The computer scientists changed their algorithms. The marketers changed their sales. And yet, the baggage tugs still came. The cleanup crew parked their electric vehicles and collected the broken parts: an arm here, a leg there, red and blue wires everywhere.
At the end of this subterranean laboratory, beneath rows of metal piping and tubes of fluorescent lights, against a gray concrete wall—there was Mark Zuckerberg’s head. Talking as if nothing were wrong, he repeated his testimony to Congress and extolled the wonders of Facebook.
How else to explain the collapse of the company’s stock, except to say Wall Street now knows that artificial intelligence (AI) is not intelligent enough?
And yes, I give Zuckerberg too much credit. I attribute human-like characteristics—such as sympathy and empathy—to a machine whose prime directive is to police speech and publish fake news; whose operating system cannot distinguish between what is tasteful and what is tacky, as he plasters Facebook with more sponsors than a fleet of NASCAR racers; whose code is incompatible with any known language.
If only his non-blinking eyes could weep. Then again, tears might cause him to short-circuit. A major malfunction would ruin years of research and development. It would jeopardize future funding of this mission and put hundreds of workers at risk of losing their H1-B Visas.
We must, however, admit the obvious: that AI is a bunch of BS; it is a five-foot-seven pile of junk jammed inside a mesh bag, strapped against the hirsute back of a smuggler with a bad temper. It is, in its current form, beyond repair.
Hard as it may be, the time has come to unfriend Mark Zuckerberg.
I will never forget to forget him.
Photo credit: Josh Edelson/AFP/Getty Images