Something that’s been in my head for a while now:
People assume that AI is inherently an outgrowth of computer technology, but the whole point of the “programmable general purpose Von Neumann machine” is that its principles are technology-independent.
We have had AI for a at least a century.
Modern corporations are paperclip-maximizing AIs running in human wetware on an operating system of contracts, regulations, and other social constructs, and capable of self-programming by modifying that underlying operating system. They have partially migrated to a digital platform, which has allowed an increase in the speed with which they can assimilate environmental feedback and manipulate their surroundings (vis. high-speed trading).
Late-Stage Capitalism is the Bad Singularity.
Back in early grad school, I strongly suspected there was a good paper to write about corporate personhood and the Turing Test, but was dissuaded by my teachers. Silly academia.
Discussed in more detail in this article
The very term “robot” comes from a 1920 Czech science fiction play called Rossumovi Univerzální Roboti (Rossum’s Universal Robots). In the play, robots were basically androids– flesh and blood machines being exploited for labor and then revolting against humanity.
“Robot” comes from the Czech term robota which literally means ‘forced labor.’
The entire genre is absolutely a commentary on how we dehumanize and exploit workers, and how one day the lowest classes of the world will rise up and revolt.