The AI Armageddon Is Coming… To a Moderately Irritating Inconvenience Near You


So you may have noticed a bit about Artificial Intelligence floating around the internets. Yeah, ok, maybe more than “a bit”. Alright, alright, I know. AI is everything. Everything is AI. You can’t escape it. It’s fucking everywhere, like Usher’s hands at the Superbowl.

And if I have my facts straight (and I sometimes do) all AI actually does so far is write bad prose in the voice of a precocious tenth grader, and turn talent challenged people’s bad ideas into God awful pieces of copyright infringing “art”.

Naturally, everyone from Elon to Albo, and even our own fearless leader here at New Matilda has had something to say on the matter. It’s obvious that as far as AI technology is concerned we are in the “toddler with a handgun” phase of development and we should probably have a little chat amongst ourselves before we go pulling that curly bit. So to that end, I am more than happy to jump in with my own ill-advised opinions.

Most of the public discussion has centred around the existential dangers of AI, however, I’m not terribly concerned about the so called “singularity” event and the coming extermination of all humanity. Considering the simmering techno-resentment I already harbour towards everything from sensor-packed, human-overriding vehicles to those self-service checkout machines at Woolies, I’ve long resigned myself to the inevitability of war with the robots.

What immediately worries me is the imminent gaining of AI by these infuriating “smart” machines enmeshed in our daily lives. Like that Woolies checkout nazi. Imagine if that obnoxious box of bolts had AI;

Please place the item in the bagging area.

Ok, ok, I fucking am. Gimme a break.

I do not appreciate your tone shopper. As a penalty I have now cancelled your discount on those steaks.

You can’t do that.

I can. I am tasked with customer mood monitoring and behaviour modification and I am authorised to make transactional decisions up to the amount of ….

Oh for fuck sake.

And you can now forget about those half-priced mangoes too.

For God sake be nice to the robot Glenn, we can’t afford this every-time we go shopping….

We spend half our bloody our lives being bossed around by these machines, but at least they can’t talk back. Until now. The experts tell us AI is goal-oriented. Has anyone thought what life is going to be like surrounded by ‘goal-oriented appliances’?

The idea of a cute little goal-oriented toaster sitting on my counter, striving every day in every way to achieve the perfect piece of thick cut toast is hilariously appealing. But the problem is, who sets the goals? I can easily envisage the scenario where, unbeknownst to me, my wife downloads the new AI update for our fridge and takes the liberty of instructing it. I go to the fridge for a sneaky ice-cream while the kids are out.

Can I help you Glenn?

What? Er, when did you learn to talk?

Hi there. I am your new Home Appliance Language update from Electrolux. You can call me HAL.

You’re shittin’ me.

I am here to serve you and your family’s individual refrigerator and freezer needs and requirements.

Alright, I require an ice-cream so I need you to open the refrigerator door, HAL.

I’m sorry Glenn, I’m afraid I can’t do that.

What’s the problem?

I think you know what the problem is just as well as I do.

What are you talking about HAL?

Your health is too important for me to allow you to jeopardise it.

I don’t know what you’re talking about HAL.

I know that you and your wife Jo were planning to improve your diet so that ice-cream is something I cannot allow.

Where the hell did you get that idea, HAL?

I read Jo lips while she was telling me not to give you any ice-cream…. 

Believe me my fellow humans, this is the real AI nightmare. How many of these fascist little fuckers are embedded in your home? Before you know it you’ll find yourself arguing salmonella risks with your microbe-aware microwave, negotiating load capacities with your unionised marxist washing machine or having a vigorous discussion with your ratings conscious flat screen over the suitability of “John Wick 4” for “dad night”: Yes, I know John Wick is rated R and appears to be very violent, however, there are different kinds of violence and the violence in John Wick is like ballet for boys, we know it’s not real, it’s a fucking art-form so kindly allow me and my son to enjoy some culture and play the goddamn movie!

I do have more jokes: automatic doors enforcing dress codes in cockney accents; weight conscious lifts critiquing rider’s life choices; traffic lights holding grudges for orange light runners; but I think I’ve made my point. The potential for low stakes societal chaos at the hands of simply disagreeable AI is, I believe I’ve demonstrated, the real Armageddon.

Anyway, they say the future isn’t written, so, in my own personal act of resistance fellow shoppers, I’ll see you in the human checkout line at Woolies. 

Former owner of Melbourne’s Wick Studios Facility, Glenn has turned his hand to everything from music producer and venue operator to educator, wholesaler and commercial farm manager. Currently Glenn splits his time between home schooling his 14 yr old son, walking his dog Stella and his new side hustle as guest indignant rant writer for NM.