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Friendly banker wants to crash Russia's economy by replacing bureaucrats with AI
The surest way to achieve 50% unemployment in Russia. GREF!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Although there are some worrying indicators, and sectors in need of urgent relief, Russia’s economy has held up remarkably well against the 10,000+ sanctions hurled at it by the West’s Community of Values, and Japan.
But Moscow’s commendable resistance to torrents of economic restrictions could falter, fatally, if friendly very nice banker man Herman Gref—who is a nice man, by the way—is allowed to continue pestering the Russian people with his unreasonable demands.
Holy heck, what does Herman want this time? Facial recognition cameras that work even on masked proles? An untested genetic slurry? Cattle tags for tots? His own “coin”?
No, he already has all those nice things. He wants something new, “for the man who has everything”—something that would definitely destroy Russia’s economy should Gref get his way again (and unfortunately, he usually does):
Artificial intelligence (AI) could independently make decisions that are related to data analysis, especially in the field of public administration. This was stated by the head of Sberbank Herman Gref during the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum.
“In general, all management is built on two components. The first is data-based management, this part of management is rational. It is best, especially in public administration, to give decision-making to artificial intelligence systems,” Gref noted.
Gref also argued that one of the main advantages of using GrefBots to administer Russia was that you wouldn’t be able to bribe them.
I’m not sure if Russians would consider that an advantage, honestly.
In all seriousness, Russia has the world’s most egalitarian bribery system: In the United States, only rich people get to bribe the government (using “Super PACs”, lobbyists, and strippers). In Russia, almost everyone can afford a bribe. You think I’m being fresh, but I’m not: This is a great leap forward for Democracy.
Plus, there’s that little problem of “a very large percentage of working Russians are employed by the state in some form or fashion.”
The Think Tank Lizards at the Wilson Center claim 39% of Russians work in the public sector, or for state-owned conglomerates, but I’ve seen figures as high as 50%. Anyway, a nontrivial number of Russians are on the state’s payroll, okay?
Paper-shuffling, pencil-pushing, and stamp-stamping are the backbone of the Russian economy. Is Gref calling for millions of cherished civil servants to be kicked to the curb, and replaced by his omnipotent, efficient, impossible-to-bribe (i.e. lame) GrefBots?
Because that’s a pretty good way of getting tarred and feathered by a mob of enraged (but also sclerotic) bureaucrats.
Like an antelope being chased by a dingo, eventually Gref will become very tired, and will have to stop running, and then the sickly but determined desk jockeys will catch up to him, and tear him limb from limb. That’s the circle of life, my friends.
Look, I’ll be honest—since honesty is always the best policy: Using AI to streamline paperwork processing, and other banal administrative tasks, would obviously have benefits and advantages.
It would also have disadvantages. For example, would a GrefBot cut me some slack if I needed something from the government, but was completely unregistered? Probably not. Probably 100 SberCoins would be deducted from my SberWallet, and then I’d be deported.
It’s a slippery slope. Are we prepared to automate everything for the sake of convenience and efficiency? Because eventually that’s what will happen, if we keep going down this road. And there will be severe consequences.
Your correspondent is a remorseless Luddite and stubborn stick-in-the-mud. That being said, even I cannot deny that technology has its uses—and I’m quite sure the same is true of artificial intelligence.
But technology is a one-way choo-choo ride, and if you think it can be contained, or reeled in, or reversed, I would urge you to rethink.
Probably once you are chipped and your brainwaves are synchronized with Skynet, there will be less of an impetus to expose yourself to challenges and hardships, which are necessary for “building character”, as my father would say, when ordering me to stack wood in the backyard.
There’s also the very real risk of life’s spontaneity, and unplanned detours, disappearing altogether—which would be a real pity.
I suspect that as existence becomes increasingly automated and “convenient”—thanks to rapid advances in technology—humans will become more malleable, docile, controllable, predictable, acquiescent, boring, and extremely unfun to be around.
“But wait”—that’s you, speaking to me—“aren’t most of life’s daily tasks menial and inconsequential, and won’t we be able to realize our True Potential, once we are freed from the repetitive busy work we call ‘jobs’?”
There are all sorts of fabulous theories, predicting that if people didn’t have to work 40 hours a week, they would suddenly be inspired to take up finger painting (like George W. Bush did), or other creative pursuits.
Have you ever observed someone who has “free time”? Nine times out of ten, they use their surplus hours to “upvote” humorous photographs of cats, or to take selfies of themselves eating spaghetti, or to collect virtual gems on an app that was probably designed by DARPA to teach chimps how to defecate on command.
In extreme cases, people spend their leisure time reading “blogs”. I know … vile.
I spend my free time listening to Bach fugues on repeat as I smoke myself silly in seedy hookah lounges, so please don’t think I’m talking down to my fellow proles, whom I love dearly, and worry about constantly.
All I’m saying is that humans are incredibly gifted at destroying themselves, and each other, and I’m not at all convinced that an army of GrefBots would change this. In fact, there’s a decent chance AI Bureaucrats would just make everything much, much worse. That’s Gref’s specialty, actually.
At the same time, we might as well admit there’s no escaping the March of Progress, unless you want to go Ted Kaczynski Mode (RIP bro). [NOTE TO FBI/FSB/GEORGIAN STATE SECURITY SERVICE: I AM AN UNARMED, HARMLESS FRODO BAGGINS DOPPLEGANGER. I BLOG, AND THAT IS ALL.]
I forget why I typed this.
Oh yeah: Gref.
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