“Americans were attached to a vague cultural conservatism mostly because of the seemingly broad consensus around it, rather than by deep personal commitment. As that consensus, like most forms of consensus in our national life, has frayed, their attachment has weakened.” — Yevin Levin, The Fractured Republic
We are living through a period of cultural transformation. Cultural institutions that used to be inviolable are now all-but completely destroyed.
Big things. Life defining things are crumbling, just ask Google!
Just Ask Google
Me: “OK, Google: What age graduate high school?”
Me: “Nice work.”
Google: “Thank you.”
But then the wheels start to come off…
Me: “OK, Google. What is the right age to get a bachelors degree?”
Google: “The ‘right’ age to graduate is whatever age you are when <you are ready to graduate>…”
Me: “OK, Google. I get it but that sounds like a tautology.”
And the wheels are officially off…
Google: “Here are some matching videos.”
Me: “A toot elegy?!?!?!?”
Me: “OK, Google. When do most people get married?”
Google: “No idea.”
Me: (Thinking, OK Google… I’ll cut you some slack) “OK, Google. Average age of first marriage.”
I won’t bore you with questions about family & kids, home, city, church, trade/craft, and political parties. Just believe me, it gets worse from here. We value individualism, not for its own sake, but because it is all we have left when everything around else falls apart.
It’s not that Google’s AI isn’t impressive. No. Not at all. It’s amazing. When it on point, it’s strikingly on point.
No, the issue is really with our culture. AI, at least for now, only parrots back to you what we as a society (read, The Internet or the Technium) tell it. We value choice and individual freedom over all else.
Freedom Uber Alles
We value individualism, not for its own sake, but because it is all we have left when everything around else falls apart.
Joe Filcik is a technologist looking for enchanting technology used for good @WonderNFear. His other interests include podcasts/audiobooks, economics, UX, and faith. His day job is as a Program Manager at Microsoft. Follow him on Twitter @JFilcik.