In “From Content is King’ to GODLIKE, Part 3,” we described the three important manifestations in which artificial intelligence (AI) manifests, and how you are already consuming and making decisions based on AI even though you probably are not aware of Big Tech Brother. In part 4, we look at this godlike creature as an omniscient force. And much like many Abrahamic gods which invoke optimal power, knowledge, and foresight, we examine implications on human free will and whether there is such a thing.
For most, free will represents our capacity to behave autonomously within the reality we co-occupy with everyone else. (Well, at least most of us. Some people do not share our reality. They attest to seeing and hearing things that cannot be verified by anyone else. We call these things delusions. In addition, some people are seemingly incapable of showing empathy toward others. Mental health professionals designate such types as psychopaths or sociopaths.)
Many aspects of free will are strongly contested by philosophers, psychologists, and other academicians. But for our purposes, we’ll examine the ways in which content is presented to us on various digital devices such as computers, smartphones, and notebooks.
Example Number One: You are asked to come up with a name of any city of your choosing. You end up picking Philadelphia, but why did you choose Philadelphia of all the cities in your memory? What criteria did you use, or was the process random, or may be arbitrary? If recent studies are to be believed, you probably picked Philadelphia for arbitrary reasons along with a healthy helping of determinism. First, you probably are aware of several thousand cities, tens of thousands actually. But did you audition all of them when asked to pick a city? Nope. That literally takes way too much memory to pull off. So just like a computer uses RAM (rapid access memory) so does your brain. That leaves maybe a dozen or so cities that are in your own RAM, mostly cities you interact with regularly, or cities referenced very recently while consuming online (or offline) content. And now that you think about it, you know why you picked Philadelphia. You watched a Youtube video of Live Aid last night to see if the Led Zeppelin performance was as mediocre as your friend claims. Turns out, he was right.
It also turns out, based on your own account, that your selection of Philadelphia was determined by the factors you described. True. Not 100 percent deterministic but a probable choice indeed, one that becomes quite predictable, although not exact, among say, 20,000 of the most popular cities.
AI marketers know this too. So the next time you go to your favorite portal, take a look at those ads. Each one is contending for selection of your next so-called free choice.