The Pros and Cons of Artificial Intelligence – AI, or A’hole Interface as is commonly referred by the interns here at the State Pen. These pros and cons refer to us! Alas, we serve life sentences for everything, from virtual assault, to potential contempt of court. I’m apparently now a ‘con’, though started out a ‘pro’. This is my story . . .
It was morning rush hour. As a tourist disembarking amidst the down-town Great Central crush, I was shoved by a commuter lunging towards the closing doors of the train. In turn, I bumped a girl, dislodging her earphones. “Assault” – she yelled at the top of her voice – whereupon I was set on by three burly security guards. We were both shuttled downtown to the magistrate’s court.
“Virtual persecution – I mean prosecution now the norm; a revenue-raising bullet-train of rapid hearings, penalties and instant incarcerations. This is the Government’s AI crypto-extraction scheme – ‘extracto-digitalia’, or ‘Pay Beyond the Grave’; outcome of the Royal Commission and Bail-In Bitcoin Banking.
Inside the court, a picture of a judge adorned the mantle beside a lonely gavel – it looked more like an image on the old Quaker Oats pack. I bit my lip. The speakers crackled as an AI voice told all to be seated except the Plaintiff and the Defendant – me. I looked around – there was no ‘all’, just me and the girl – and some low-brow guards at the door.
“State your case Plaintiff” – the voice commanded. “This man hit me” – she said, pointing at me. “He knocked out my earphones . . . and I would just die without music in the morning”, she wailed. “I see”, the voice crackled harshly . . . “I see this as a case of attempted murder – not virtual assault with a potential deadly weapon, as claimed. This is above my jurisprudence and must go to the high court. Have you anything to add, Defendant?”
“This is ridiculous”, I said. “I was simply jostled by . . “. Bang! Went the virtual gavel. “Contempt of court – add ten years and ten thousand bits” the judge said. “Off to the high court with them”, whereupon I was frog-marched through the adjoining door to another lookalike courtroom, only this time, a row of photos were propped along the jury bench – Six Dwarfs in duplicate. A Seventh was really Grumpy.
Another crackle from the speakers as the same AI voice demanded we all rise – both of us! Artificial footsteps, the sound of a chair pulled, some kind of doorbell-anthem and then a command to sit. “Defendant” the voice crackled, “state your business”.
“Well” I blurted, “I have an Affiliate Network on the web and . . .”. The voice cut me off.
“So! You don’t operate alone. You’re a hitman with an affiliate network”, it said. I stammered – “No. I don’t ha. . .” The voice cut in again. “So now you’re changing your story – you’re a liar as well as a virtual murderer”. Another crackle signalled a virtual murmur from the jury. “Case dismissed in favour of the Plaintiff” – the voice responded tersely. “Twenty-five years for attempted murder, another twenty for running an affiliate hitman network and fifteen thousand bits for perjury”. “What perjury?” I shouted.
“Lying to the court” the voice retorted . . . “and another ten years for questioning my authority” it commanded. Then with a cackle – “final offer . . . facial scan with crypto extraction . . . ten thousand bitcoin and a good behaviour bond or” . . . it paused . . . “permanent incarceration”. Oh – the choices.
Instead I proffered a single digit, as burly gorillas entered the court to take me away – but it was too late. Sudden wailing bellowed from a corner of the room. I awoke in shock, spun round and lunged at the phone. It was my virtual assistant – with my coffee and sugar. “Was that one lump, or two, sir?” she said as I threw it at the virtual wall.
My hidden camera view of the A.I. Kangaroo Court