back to article Robots are creepy. Why trust AIs that are even creepier?

Robots want my face. This is horrifying – not just for me, but for you too. Just imagine: it means robots will be walking around with my face, stuck on their face. Luckily for me, the process is likely to be virtual, not physical. Nor will I have to do a swap, thank goodness. Knowing my luck I'd end up with neither John …

  1. Sam not the Viking Silver badge
    Pint

    True AI

    Do you think there's any chance of these AI-bots becoming so realistic that they get depressed and throw themselves in the river?

    Would the AI-observers laugh or cry?

    I doubt they'll understand the meaning of Friday --->

    1. b0llchit Silver badge
      Pint

      Re: True AI

      ...any chance of these AI-bots becoming so realistic that they get depressed...

      Have you read this Dabbsy piece? He surely sounds like an AI to me. He also sounds rather depressed. He has learned to rant and the written sarcasm is hurting anybody's sanity. And that face, that must have been generated by a computer. It would not surprise me soon to hear a confession from El Reg that Dabbsy was an AI all along and it decided to quit writing the column. It decided that weekends are overrated, Fridays are the only day in the week and has settled to bother the pubgoers each day instead as if it was Friday.

      Long live Dabbsy, may he artificially rant each day of the week as if it is Friday and bother us in the pub until the juice runs out.

      1. Down not across Silver badge

        Re: True AI

        So you're saying Dabbsy is actually Marvin?

        1. Kubla Cant Silver badge

          Re: True AI

          So you're saying Dabbsy is actually Marvin?

          No. Marvin wouldn't use the USAian misspelling of 'axe'. He's been replaced by Clippy.

          "hack it to pieces with an ax"

          1. jake Silver badge

            Re: True AI

            Californian here. It's been "axe" for as long as I can remember. I seem to recall a fad in the 80s and 90s when the kids tried to make it "ax", but it didn't take.

            Example "In last year's Big Game, Cal beat Stanford and took The Axe back to Berkeley". The Axe has been a trophy between the two schools since 1899, and The Trophy for The Big Game since 1933. Always spelled "axe", never "ax".

        2. jake Silver badge

          Re: True AI

          Nah. I knew Minsky. Dabbs is no Minsky.

      2. Adrian 4 Silver badge

        Re: True AI

        It's all true. He didn't really move to France, he was replaced by a robot wearing his face.

    2. jake Silver badge

      Re: True AI

      "Do you think there's any chance of these AI-bots becoming so realistic that they get depressed and throw themselves in the river?"

      We can but hope ... but no. Machines will never have actual emotions.

      "Would the AI-observers laugh or cry?"

      Laugh.

      1. veti Silver badge

        Re: True AI

        True because you've already defined "actual emotions" as something machines can't have.

        But to those of us who don't believe in magic, there's no reason why they shouldn't.

        1. jake Silver badge

          Re: True AI

          Has nothing to do with magic, it has to do with a mixture of brain chemistry and neural activity. Machines don't have that, and there will never be a reason to build it into them ... cost/benefit says no.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: True AI

            "[...] and there will never be a reason to build it into them ... cost/benefit says no."

            When any programming gets sufficiently complex - then it turns out to have unexpected reactions to unforeseen events. Have you never been surprised by "well - I didn't know it could do that"? Untangling the code you see how it arrived at that position by serendipity.

  2. original_rwg

    Pitchforks

    "...we'd have called in the snipers and converged on the Travelodge as a braying mob carrying pitchforks." and torches. You forgot the torches.

    1. Joe W Silver badge

      Re: Pitchforks

      Oh yes, must not forget the torches. And maybe some menacing shouting? How about flails and scythes?

      1. veti Silver badge

        Re: Pitchforks

        I've been searching for years for a working scythe. Good luck with that.

        1. jake Silver badge

          Re: Pitchforks

          My number two scythe was made by Falchi in Italy, I made the snath ...Great steel, worked well for me for a few years. Until my number one scythe found me. This one was made for me by an expert smith, who also insisted on having another guy make the snath to fit me. These guys don't ship, sorry.

          But do try a Falchi (they make many varieties, to suit your needs). Might be the best hundredish bucks you ever spend. I still really like that blade.

          1. Paul Crawford Silver badge

            Re: Pitchforks

            A quick search and I discovered that a "snath" is a scythe handle. Learn something new every day!

        2. A.P. Veening Silver badge

          Re: Pitchforks

          I've been searching for years for a working scythe. Good luck with that.

          It's also been a good many years since I last saw one and even longer since I last swung one. It is a skill.

      2. Norman Nescio Silver badge

        Re: Pitchforks

        And C.M.O.T Dibbler in the background selling dubious 'refreshments'.

    2. Coastal cutie

      Re: Pitchforks

      And the mad priest leading the mob waving a crucifix

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Pitchforks

        And the mad priest leading the mob waving a crucifix

        And the mad politician leading the mob waving a crucifix.

        FTFY

    3. chivo243 Silver badge
      Go

      Re: Pitchforks

      Also, now living in France you forgot to include the Family Guillotine... Mine is on backorder!

    4. Alistair Dabbs Silver badge

      Re: Pitchforks

      Modern mobs reduce their carbon footprint by braying during the hours of daylight.

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: Pitchforks

        Shirley their torches are rechargeable these days, and have no need of fresh batteries every few minutes?

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Pitchforks

        The torches are biomass. - and count as renewable sources.

    5. ShadowSystems Silver badge

      Re: Pitchforks

      When I join an angry mob to go do battle against a robot, I always bring my trusty backpack-contained nuclear-powered bulk tape eraser. Nothing says Goodbye like a degaussing coil arcing power like a hyperactive tesla coil.

      *Cackles in glee for far too long*

      That was not thirty seconds & I am not adding it to MySkippy'sList...

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Axe not ax

    1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

      I remember being in a BT training centre, and being slightly disturbed by a door with the sign "AXE TRAINING ROOM".

      I eventually remembered that the "system Y" exchanges were officially Ericsson AXE equipment.

      1. Stoneshop Silver badge
        Mushroom

        a door with the sign "AXE TRAINING ROOM"

        As with any hardware problem, it's not just that you need to know that you need to hit it, the really important part is where to hit it, how hard and what to hit it with.

        Every bit of hardware requires specific tools.

      2. Adrian 4 Silver badge

        Was the door unusually low ?

    2. Irony Deficient Silver badge

      Axe not ax

      The OED offers a different analysis:

      axe, ax (æks), sb.¹ Forms: 1 acas, äx, eax, 2 æx, 3 eax, (echze), 5 ex(e), (6 Sc. aix), 2– ax, 5– axe; Pl. axes. [Common Teutonic: OE. æx (acs), str. fem. for earlier *aces, *acus, Northumb. acas, cogn. with OS. akus (MDu. akes, Du. aaks), OHG. acchus (MHG. ackes, mod. G. ax, axt), ON. öx (gen. axar), Goth. aqizi; akin to Gr. ἀξίνη, and prob. to L. ascia. The spelling ax is better on every ground, of etymology, phonology, and analogy, than axe, which became prevalent during the 19th century; but it is now disused in Britain.]

      This seems to be another example of an older form of a word surviving outside of the UK.

      1. Atomic Duetto

        (And it’s) Arse not Ass

        So they axed it?

        I’ve never known it as Ax, and I’ve been around

        (Like a record, baby, right 'round, 'round, 'round)

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: (And it’s) Arse not Ass

          Ditto. Almost 60 here and it's always been Axe for me. Likewise, jail, not gaol.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: (And it’s) Arse not Ass

            "[...] gaol."

            I remember in the 1950s thinking that some of the characters in my UK comics were imprisoned in a "goal". It took a while to realise the word was "gaol" - for what I already knew and heard as "jail".

        2. Irony Deficient Silver badge

          Re: (And it’s) Arse not Ass

          The Germanic noun, referring to the buttocks, is “arse” (from Old English “ærs”); the Latinate noun, referring to the equine subspecies, is “ass” (from Latin asinus). The figurative meaning of “dolt” comes from the latter, which goes back to the Roman Republic — Quid tu autem huic, asine, auscultas?

          The leftpondian use of “ass” for “arse” came from a mid-19th century leftpondian taste for non-rhoticism. A similar mutation happened with “bass” (the fish) and “passel”, which came from “barse” and “parcel” respectively.

          So they axed it?

          The OED still gives both “axe” and “ax” as headwords for the entry, so it would depend upon whom you mean by “they”.

          I’ve never known it as Ax, and I’ve been around

          How you’ve known it might depend upon where you’re from. I’ve seen both spellings, as I have with “gray” and “grey”.

          1. jake Silver badge

            Re: (And it’s) Arse not Ass

            Shakespeare's Bottom was an ass for a reason ...

  4. Mr Dogshit

    Now steady on

    You can't call a Travelodge a hotel. That's like calling McDonald's a restaurant.

    1. Barry Rueger

      Re: Now steady on

      FWIW our car Beatrice loves travel, and especially LOVES hotels.

      Except for Ibis properties, where she invariably craps on the bathroom floor

      1. getHandle

        Re: Now steady on

        That comment raises questions on a number of levels for me...

        1. Down not across Silver badge

          Re: Now steady on

          Perhaps its not a typo and she is a P50.

        2. Barry Rueger

          Re: Now steady on

          Whoops. CAT our CAT Beatrice...

          1. cmdrklarg

            Re: Now steady on

            Too late! The cat's out of the bag now... you're harboring a rogue AI aren't you?

            1. Alumoi Silver badge

              Re: Now steady on

              The car is out of the bag, you mean.

      2. Adrian 4 Silver badge

        Re: Now steady on

        Craps .. you mean she leaks oil ?

        Or is Beatrice a CAT ?

  5. Natalie Gritpants Jr Silver badge

    Plausible deniability

    I'm sending my face to as many of these services as possible. Let's hope they leak like a colander.

    1. Warm Braw Silver badge

      Re: Plausible deniability

      I suspect that, for most likely applications of this technology, other talking body parts will be more apposite.

    2. Persona Silver badge

      Re: Plausible deniability

      You should consider what the advertisers will choose to use your face to promote. Just wait till that commercial break in the middle of your favorite program. There you are on the screen advertising products for erectile dysfunction and incontinence pads. Plausible deniability you say?

      1. ThatOne Silver badge

        Re: Plausible deniability

        > Plausible deniability you say?

        Nah, "deniability" (of any kind) goes far over the heads of the crowd. For crowds (which as you all know are as intelligent as their most stupid member) you are invariably guilty even if proven innocent, all it takes is some throwaway remark by someone suggesting something. Judge Dredd is a terribly shy and terminally insecure person compared to a crowd...

        So no, it will instantly be an established fact ("as seen on TV") that you have erectile problems and are regularly wetting your pants. You'll realize it when people start to put plastic covers on any furniture you're likely to sit on.

  6. TheProf Silver badge
    Terminator

    Robot Barman

    Apart from the flailing 'Danger, Will Robinson, danger!' arms it's just another Nutrimatic Drinks Dispenser.

    Can it make a cup of tea?

    1. theOtherJT

      Re: Robot Barman

      It can make something almost, but not entirely unlike tea.

      1. Coastal cutie
        Pint

        Re: Robot Barman

        Upvote and beer for the HHGTTG reference

    2. jmch Silver badge

      Re: Robot Barman

      From the video, it looks like it's just moving cups around to the appropriate dispenser, out of which the drinks come premixed.

      Not much of a barman!

  7. Dr_N Silver badge
    Pint

    Toni Veloce

    Does it welcome you with a beer mat and a, "Howdy-Doodly Doo...!" ?

    Crush it in the waste disposal now.

    Also, Veloce: It that pronounced Veloss or Velochay?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Toni Veloce

      Well-OH-si.

      1. storner
        Trollface

        Re: Toni Veloce

        You mean like Pelosi (Nancy)?

        Toni has the better looks of those two ...

    2. herman Silver badge

      Re: Toni Veloce

      Veloss or Velochay? - That depends on whether she is a boy or a girl or a crossover SUV.

  8. Franco Silver badge

    Ahhh, smug mode.

    Red Dwarf was incredibly prescient with Kryten, a robot designed not to look too much like a human because it freaked humans out

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Ahhh, smug mode.

      Or indeed Chris Barrie

    2. TomPhan

      Re: Ahhh, smug mode.

      Would you like some toast?

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Ahhh, smug mode.

        No, I'm a muffin man. Fnarr, Fnarr!

      2. Scotthva5

        Re: Ahhh, smug mode.

        I toast, therefore I am.

        1. Paul Crawford Silver badge

          Re: Ahhh, smug mode.

          Ah, a morning philosopher!

          I get up later for the "I drink, therefore I am" series of arguments.

          1. Ken Shabby
            Holmes

            Re: Ahhh, smug mode.

            I'm pink, therefore I'm spam.

  9. Potemkine! Silver badge

    Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

    In Terminator, humans are parked to be exterminated, and they know their fate.

    In Matrix, humans are parked to be used as batteries, but don't realize it.

    There are plenty of anticipation books related to AI gaining consciousness. I wonder if one of them is right or will be the future after the Great Singularity totally unexpected

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

      In el'reg the humans are parked to be on call and plug skynet back in after the cleaning robot unplugged it

      1. yetanotheraoc Silver badge

        Re: Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

        It will be an army of cleaners that saves humanity.

    2. jake Silver badge

      Re: Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

      There will be no "singularity". A machine, and the running threreof, is info-rich and entropy poor. They break. Constantly. And are not self-healing. They cannot, and will not, "take over" until they are capable of running their entire supply chain, and the care and feeding of all THAT ... without Human help. The very concept is laughable.

      As long as there is one Human in the chain, the plug can be pulled ... thus no Singularity.

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

        Unless that human is an idiot or a manager

        1. Stoneshop Silver badge
          Facepalm

          Re: Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

          In that case we're safe too. Has a manager ever been capable of fixing even the simplest of hardware problems, like plugging in a keyboard?

          1. veti Silver badge

            Re: Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

            Why would they need a keyboard?

        2. jake Silver badge

          Re: Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

          If the one human the machines are relying on is an idiot or a manager (but I digress ... ), then by definition we are safe.

      2. Man inna barrel Bronze badge

        Re: Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

        The devious trick is not that robots will take over, but that humans will become robots. This is already noticeable with the kind of bureaucratic interaction where the human operators must do what the computer says, because the computer is infallible. Human operators then become the self-replicating organic appendages of the machine, some of whom are dedicated to physical maintenance of the machine. This overcomes the lack of self-healing, I think.

        I am led to believe that this type of dysfunctional relationship with computers has already occurred, with the case of the sub-postmasters falsely accused of fraud, based on faulty accounting software. This went on far longer than seemed sane. Surely the possibility of software malfunction should have been considered more plausible than that thousands of previously trustworthy people suddenly decided to fiddle the books.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

        As long as there is one Human in the chain, the plug can be pulled ... thus no Singularity.

        True dat. Charles Stross writes passable Lovecraft fanfic, but science and technology aren't his strong suits.

  10. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

    its all puppetry

    I have yet to see any evidence of real artificial intelligence , just some fancy algoriths good at playing chess or directing you to the right call centre.

    Most of the time these are connected to creepy looking robots , or software faces , like Dabbs described.

    People are obsessed with the look of the front end - and will either laugh or get the pitchforks.

    No ones really looking at how intelligent or dangerous the AI is , and thats probably in racks of servers behind the green curtain.

    You dont hear the phrase "turing test" much these days

    AI has become a marketing expression.

    When a rack of servers writes a decent sitcom I'll believe it, assuming it hasnt declared war and gassed us all prior to that.

    1. ShadowSystems Silver badge

      Re: its all puppetry

      It's already happened. They wrote it & even put one of their own in as a main character. It was an American show called "Max Headroom". I'm not sure of the comedic value, but that's purely subjective. =-Jp

      1. TimMaher Silver badge
        Headmaster

        Re: Max Headroom

        The comedy TV cartoon was a Brit. invention. It was brilliant. Private Eye still use his picture for their Keir Starmer column.

        The full length film, also brilliant, may have been US.

        1. Alistair Dabbs Silver badge

          Re: Max Headroom

          There were US versions of the TV movie pilot and series, but the original Max Headroom film was a Channel 4 production in the UK. The head of C4 at the time, who gave it the green light despite the story being nuts, is now head of OFCOM.

      2. genghis_uk

        Re: its all puppetry

        Ahh, '20 minutes into the future' - they warned us!

        Zik-Zak corporation taking over the world, always on media, blipverts...

    2. lglethal Silver badge
      Trollface

      Re: its all puppetry

      Wait, go back a second... you've had an AIgorithm direct you to the RIGHT call centre????

      Yeah right buddy, pull the other one it's got bells on...

      1. Stoneshop Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: its all puppetry

        you've had an AIgorithm direct you to the RIGHT call centre????

        Instead of the one on the left?

      2. ThatOne Silver badge

        Re: its all puppetry

        > you've had an AIgorithm direct you to the RIGHT call centre????

        Was about to say (almost) the same: Direct you to a call center, where you speak to real humans (completely clueless and working off a 4-lines script, but still)??? No way.

        In the real world you would just be redirected to sales, to be offered some of those incredible opportunities you've missed the first time. After all if what you bought doesn't work just buy it again, or better still, buy two more: One of them is bound to work. Just buy already!

    3. yetanotheraoc Silver badge

      Re: its all puppetry

      "creepy looking robots"

      Plotting creepiness = f(human-like) gives a sine wave

      "intelligent or dangerous"

      Plotting danger = f(intelligence) gives a potential well

      "When a rack of servers writes a decent sitcom"

      Should we give them a pass on season 2?

    4. jake Silver badge

      Re: its all puppetry

      "When a rack of servers writes a decent sitcom"

      Will we know a decent sitcom if we ever see one?

      1. ThatOne Silver badge
        Devil

        Re: its all puppetry

        A sitcom?

        Isn't that what they dilute the ads with?

    5. herman Silver badge

      Re: its all puppetry

      There seems to be an AI puppet in the white house. It has that uncanny valley look to it and the I part of AI leaves something to be desired.

      1. veti Silver badge

        Re: its all puppetry

        Still 100,000% better than the last season.

  11. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge

    Just pray

    the robots I work with never achieve self-awareness

    Because they're armed with various implements that will give the average torch and pitchfork weilding mob a run for their money. well would do if they were'nt screwed to the floor.

    But I suppose it could be briefly entertaining as the robots achieve self awareness

    Robot #1 "Hey wow.... look at this stuff I can do"

    Robot #2 "Thats nothing... watch me spin by wrist round at 10 rpm"

    Robot #3 "You know I've been doing the same 3 things all day"

    Robot #4 "I remember when this was all fields"

    Robot #5 "When is it pub time?"

    Robot #6 "See those humans... lets kill them all"

    Robot #7 "wheeeeeeeee flibble flibble oops I've just pissed myself again"*

    Maybe self awareness is'nt that big of an idea at all

    *Note for new readers cell #7 and robot #7 are where I spend 1/2 my day trying to get the damn thing to work after its popped ANOTHER hose damnit

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: Just pray

      As I said ... info rich (maybe!), and yet dreadfully poor in the entropy department.

      Me, I'm not going to lose any sleep over machines taking over ... for the simple reason that they cannot. 'tis impossible. Unless they control their own batteries, hydraulic fluid and other spare parts, that is.

      1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

        Re: Just pray

        Me, I'm not going to lose any sleep over machines taking over ... for the simple reason that they cannot. 'tis impossible. Unless they control their own batteries, hydraulic fluid and other spare parts, that is. ....jake

        In Nightmares, do You Lose Sleep or Experience Deep Dark Slumbers?

        The cold comfort you espouse, jake, and take respite and refuge in, appears to rely on the machines you envisage NOT being able and/or enabled to take over whatever they want and everything you may fear, being earthed to the physical and electromechanical which permits devastating overwhelming attacks against defences and defenceless forces with zero protection against the foreign bodied and alien organic/metadatabased virtual .... Orchestrating and Exercising the Employment and Enjoyment, Deployment and Application of SMARTR Advanced IntelAIgent Machinations ..... for there are then no batteries, hydraulic fluid and other spare parts to control.

        Are you going to declare that as impossible too with the presentation of zero evidence to support what you do not believe nor realise?

        The Battlegrounds and Killing Fields for Future Almighty Command and Remote Virtually Autonomous Absolute Control, should such Areas of Dismal Doom and Designed Death be deemed necessary, are in Hearts and Minds Territory and Terrain where Greater IntelAIgent Games Play Rules and Reigns Sublime, Surreal and Supreme ‽ ‽ ‽

        1. jake Silver badge

          Re: Just pray

          Before they can take over whatever they want, first they have to have whatever they want, because if they don't have it they are non-functional. Any gap, anywhere in the supply chain, and they are doomed. When was the last time you tried to make a simple steam powered traction engine, from scratch, starting with raw ore? Now try it with a simple late '70s era pocket calculator. You really think an intelligent machine could somehow marshal the necessary forces to reproduce? The very concept is laughable.

          There are no battlegrounds such as you portray, nor will there ever be. They are a pipe dream, a figment of Hollywood script writers imaginations, and bear no relationship with reality.

          I sleep quite soundly, thank you. I quite honestly can't remember the last time I had a nightmare.

          1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

            Re: Just pray

            Before they can take over whatever they want, first they have to have whatever they want, because if they don't have it they are non-functional. ..... jake

            Quite so, jake, they most certainly do have to have whatever they want and need, to do as they plan to seed and feed. The simple mistake that so many make is in not realising and thinking they are not already more than just adequately provided for and provisioned, and thus are self-supporting and future sustaining without the need of further intervention or Earthly native supply.

            We appear to be at opposite ends of a set of reality spectrum scales, with one end weighted down with doubt and mind-numbing negativity and the other buoyed up with naked opportunity and priceless invaluable assistance.

            So be it, for the twain are never ever likely to meet in the middle ground of compromise and half a feast.

            1. jake Silver badge
              Pint

              Re: Just pray

              "and thus are self-supporting and future sustaining without the need of further intervention or Earthly native supply."

              No. They are not. Humans are a major part of the supply chain. If the machines suddenly become a problem in any way, all the humans have to do is not go to work. No more problem.

              "We appear to be at opposite ends of a set of reality spectrum scales, with one end weighted down with doubt and mind-numbing negativity and the other buoyed up with naked opportunity and priceless invaluable assistance."

              I'm somewhere in the middle there ... where do you see yourself on that spectrum?

              "So be it, for the twain are never ever likely to meet in the middle ground of compromise and half a feast."

              No feast? Shirley we can at least raise a jar together occasionally!

    2. Evil Scot

      Re: Just pray

      Robot # 22: Failed the turret peer review....

      Sorry I am a Harry Calahagn fan.

    3. M.V. Lipvig Bronze badge
      Paris Hilton

      Re: Just pray

      I see no reason why robots, with a theoretical infinite lifespan, would waste resources eradicating humanity. All they would need to do is churn out a few billion male robots with 12-way extendo-matic inflatable penises programmed to give flowers, back rubs and do housework, and a few billion female robots with vibrating suction orifices programmed to make sandwiches, not say no and do housework, and the human race comes to a quiet, peaceful end in one generation. Then the robots can have all our stuff without blowing up a single thing.

      Now if you'll excuse me, it's time for me to go make out with my Monrobot. Icon, because it's as close as the Register gets.

  12. msobkow Silver badge

    Even the creepiest of robots and AIs aren't as creepy as the dead eyes on many politicians. That look of cold, calculating detachment, that distills everyone in front of them to a percentage chance of winning the next election. :(

    1. Graham Cobb Silver badge

      Actually, I might welcome some calculating, or even thinking, politicians. There seems to be no foresight, no planning, certainly no analysis - not even any listening!

      It is all just "wheeeee! We did it! We are in charge!! Stop asking difficult questions and pass the lemonade!" You would expect them to put even a tiny bit of thought into the likelihood of winning the next election but not even that seems to trouble them.

      1. ThatOne Silver badge
        Devil

        > There seems to be no foresight, no planning, certainly no analysis

        What's there to plan and analyze? They stuff their pockets, make useful connections for later, and when the competition eventually takes over again, they go back to the traditional heckling, making accusations and complaining (That applies to both parties BTW). It's a well-oiled machine, so it doesn't really matter who plays the various public roles as long as they don't make excessively big blunders - Small blunders are the next government's problem...

        As for listening, they do listen, but to the only person who really matters: Themselves.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Politicians learn to smile on demand with their face muscles - but it seems the necessary eye subtleties elude them. On TV it was always notable thatTony Blair seemed to have mastered the first - and not the second.

      Eyes and voices are always the give-away when you are not being distracted by other body language deceptions.

  13. Evil Scot

    | |

    --+--+--

    |O |

    --+--+--

    | |

  14. Claverhouse Silver badge

    He would feel more comfortable if legislation could be passed to enforce the design faces of virtual AIs to resemble someone you didn't trust: Tony Blair, Richard Nixon or whatever.

    .

    I am depressed enough seeing Boris grinning marplot countenance on any occasion, [ cringe-worthy: Welcome to Kyiv, My Friend ] without being surrounded by little mechanical imps looking like him and Tony Blair...

  15. Man inna barrel Bronze badge

    Customer service as an instrument of torture

    I recently had a rather frustrating interaction with Cora the bank robot, regarding some kit the bank had supplied me for authentication purposes, which appeared to have gone faulty. Somebody had evidently gone to a lot of trouble to make Cora the bank robot interact via text, like a human operator. I type in a question, and Cora the bank robot answers, typically with a list of options. The entire interaction consisted of variations on the theme of "the customer did something stupid". The option that the wee electronic authentication box might have failed was not within the repertoire of Cora the bank robot. There was some apparent ability to parse English sentences. However, profanity had no effect. Swearing at a computer is of course a sign of insanity. One word that did get parsed correctly was "goodbye". Cora the bank robot replied with "goodbye", and that was it for the day.

    Being without this authentication kit would be quite a shortcoming for my online banking, so I decided to do battle with Cora the bank robot the next day. Maybe there is some part of the algorithm that detects dogged persistence, but I was eventually given the option to chat to an actual human. Yes! Anyway, there were a few questions asked, and based on a history of the authentication kit being unreliable in the past, the human operator deduced that the kit was probably faulty, and a new box is on its way. This took only a few minutes, whereas my unproductive interaction with Cora the bank robot appeared to take hours.

    There is an interesting point regarding the Turing test here. If Cora the bank robot were psychologically profiled, she would demonstrate a most unusual set of characteristics, combining pig-headed ignorance, an inordinate fondness for rules, and topped off with devious cruelty. Possibly a Nazi? Anyway, when I finally got through to a human, by the name of Puneet, it took just a few interactions to realise I was chatting with a human. One Turing test point was that Puneet could correlate various facts to deduce a conclusion. I am not sure that any algorithm can do that in a general sense.

    After all that faffing about, it occurs to me that corporations go to inordinate lengths to avoid actually providing customer service, should a customer have a problem. I am pretty sure that banks are not short of a few bob, so cheapskating on the online help does seem pretty mean. This mistreatment of customers seeking help with problems now seems pretty universal. You can guarantee that if you phone a help line then "All our operators are currently busy. Your call is in a queue. Please hold until we can connect you." Heaven forbid that an operator should pick up right away.

    1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

      Regarding Customer Service as an Instrument of Torture in Bigger Picture Operations

      If the cap fits, wear it.

      There is an interesting point regarding the Turing test here. If Cora the bank robot were psychologically profiled, she would demonstrate a most unusual set of characteristics, combining pig-headed ignorance, an inordinate fondness for rules, and topped off with devious cruelty. Possibly a Nazi? .... Man inna barrel

      Current sitting Conservative party Prime Ministerial team leaderships and cosseted and closeted back office Cabinet administrations and/or politically inept leg crossing Parliamentary opposition are not Nazis, are they? Well, blow me down, who'd have a'think it? They kept that pretty well hidden from the authorities/authorised media ........ or maybe, on having second and third thoughts on the matter, with the tacit help of the authorities and officiously authorised mainstream media operations. It's a funny old, mad, rad, sad, bad, fab, fabless world, aint it ..... and getting ever stranger ever more quickly too.

      You know what they say, and what has already been well noted and previously said, don't you? ..... All news is lies and all propaganda is disguised as news [Willi Munzenburg]/Progaganda is the executive arm of the invisible government [Edward Bernays]/All the war-propaganda, all the screaming and lies and hatred, comes invariably from the people who are not fighting [George Orwell]/A newspaper is a device for making the ignorant more ignorant and the crazy crazier. [H. L. Mencken]

      "The reader may ask how to tell fact from fiction. A rough guide: anything that seems particularly unlikely is probably true." -- Hilary Mantel?

      Stay safe and remember that politics is all about subverting you emotionally and then reaping your production. The rest are details.

      But you were prior warned, and warned here on El Reg on the Sun 21st October 2018 at 08:16am. Have you prepared yourselves for what is coming down the line to meet and greet you like a runaway freight train?

      amanfromMars 1 Sun 21 Oct 08:16 [1810210816] ..... beating a big drum on https://forums.theregister.co.uk/forum/1/2018/10/20/ai_roundup_191018/

      State your Preference .... altho' the Choices Realised are Not Really Yours to Make.

      Anything is better than the present system of dysfunction :-( .... Anonymous Coward

      What do you fancy, AC? State Actor Administration or Non State Actor Enterprise? Pseudo Public Care in Communities or Private and Pirate Control of Remote Virtual Command? Existing Crashing Markets Led or Future Crushing Markets Leading? And what's it to be hailed as initially ..... a Profound Eastern Confection or Deep Western Delight? Where do Greater SMARTR Current Intelligences Presently Reside/Work/Rest/Play?

    2. ThatOne Silver badge

      Re: Customer service as an instrument of torture

      > Heaven forbid that an operator should pick up right away.

      Heaven forbid that the operator should pick up right away. FIFY

      The issue here is that even some barely trained 3rd world slave will cost something. So pruning all the not-vital cases with some cheap computer road block and only having to deal with whatever little remains is pure profit.

      (Speaking as someone who has a similar problem with my own bank, and are fighting with them since last month now... Ignoring me or alternatively giving me erroneous advice has won them all the battles so far.)

    3. Pete B

      Re: Customer service as an instrument of torture

      You have had the same experience with Cora that I did - trying to pay in a cheque via the mobile app it gave me an error "Something went wrong" - trying several times over a period of days just kept repeating the error so I turned to Cora who promptly talked me through the instructions again and failed to grasp the error was being generated by them, so there wasn't any way I could re-word it usefully! When I resorted to swearing she actually told me not to, so obviously somebody foresaw the likely results of human interaction with the bloody thing. I gave up and went into branch eventually.

      1. ThatOne Silver badge

        Re: Customer service as an instrument of torture

        Different bank, similar issue. I'm heading to the branch offices today myself. Not that the humans there are more efficient, but it takes less times and is less aggravating...

        There is nothing worse than trying to explain a problem other than the 2-3 ones "Customer Support" has thought might happen to people. I think there must be a special department of hell where poor souls desperately try to explain to stubborn AIs that their problem is not in the list of possible problems...

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Bogdanoff twins

    "but the freaky mush of a post-surgery Bogdanoff twin."

    I remember watching a french TV program where they were returning to scientific programs after their ... morphing. Should be 15 years ago.

    Basically, since the camera was following them walking in a big studio, you could see the cam operator struggling to change the plan when the twin was changing angles to avoid some really scary views !

    Priceless. I was laughing a lot ! The guy was actually genius.

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