Kaczynski on AI

Ted Kaczynski was a guy who was ahead of his time. You gotta hand it to him, the guy was no hypocrite. Here we are, all whining about climate change and plastic in the ocean, meanwhile this guy was out there living in a cabin in the woods. Not a cabin like you see in those fancy vacation ads, with the hot tub and the high-speed internet. No, I’m talking about a shack in Montana where the only running water was when it rained.

Kaczynski was out there off the grid before it was cool, before Silicon Valley made it a status symbol. You think your cousin is eco-friendly because he drives a Tesla? Ted Kaczynski was growing his own food. I bet you didn’t know the Unabomber was also the Uno-farmer. Yeah, he fertilized his own vegetables. Now that’s dedication. Most of us can’t even be bothered to compost.

He was a guy who really didn’t like his gadgets. While the rest of us were getting excited about Gameboys and dial-up internet, Ted was out there in Montana, pounding away on a typewriter, warning us about the impending technological apocalypse.

I’m not condoning what the guy did, sending bombs in the mail is rarely the answer. But you have to admit, he had some serious skin in the game. He didn’t just talk about the evils of technology and industrialization, he lived it. He wrote a whole manifesto about it. In a time where most people’s commitment to their beliefs extends as far as a Facebook status update, well… it makes you think.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not suggesting we all move to a cabin and start mailing bombs. But maybe we could learn a thing or two from Ted Kaczynski, like how to live according to our principles. Or at least how to fertilize our own vegetables. I mean, it can’t be that hard, right?

Ted believed that all this technology was leading us down a path to, well, enslavement. Kind of a heavy thought for a Tuesday afternoon, I know. But that’s how Ted’s mind worked. He saw the future, and it looked like a bad episode of The Twilight Zone.

Ted was, let’s say, “concerned” about the future of AI. And by “concerned”, I mean he was as worried about AI as a turkey is about Thanksgiving. He saw the writing on the wall. And boy, did he have some wild ideas about where things were headed. Now imagine you’re out in the woods, living off the land, catching your own food and all that survivalist jazz. And you’re worried about something that doesn’t even exist yet? That’s like worrying if the fish you’re gonna catch next week might give you indigestion.

According to Ted, first, we were all gonna lose our jobs to AI. Which, I mean, let’s be honest, doesn’t sound too bad. I mean, who wouldn’t love a little more vacation time, right? But then, Ted said that was just the beginning. After the robots took our jobs, the elites would use AI to keep an eye on us and brainwash us. Kind of like what your smartphone does now, or how intelligence agencies collect data on citizens and terrorize their ideological enemies, only worse. He made it sound like one of those dystopian sci-fi novels.

Ted thought AI was the real boogeyman. It wasn’t the typical kind of boogeyman, like the one that hides under your bed or the one that mysteriously adds items to your Amazon shopping cart. No, this was a different breed entirely. AI was poised to doom us all and not just in the way you might think. He wasn’t worried about some rogue Terminator wiping us out. No, he was more concerned about how AI would turn us into mindless drones, all docile and obedient.

Kaczynski believed AI could manipulate our perceptions, control our decisions, and ultimately rob us of our free will. He saw a future where AI doesn’t just run our factories and drive our cars, but penetrates deep into our consciousness, dictating our very thoughts and emotions. It’s a chilling thought, I’ll give him that.

Ted was terrified that AI would make us all slaves, not through brute force, but through psychological warfare. He thought that with AI around, free will would become a thing of the past. We’d all just be puppets, dancing to the tune played by our robot overlords.

Now, Ted’s response to attract public attention to this problem to was, well, let’s say it was a little unorthodox. Most people would write a letter to their congressman or maybe start a petition. But not our Teddy. No, he decided the best way to spread his message was through… explosions. Yikes. Talk about a message that really “blows you away”.

And here’s the kicker: Ted thought he could stop it all by making people pay attention to it. Yup, our pal Ted, from his humble shack in Montana, was going to help save the world from AI. And how was he going to do it? By mailing bombs to make people wake up. Yup, you heard me right, bombs. Now, I’m no expert on the politics of technological development, but I don’t think that’s how you halt the process. But you have to admit, the guy had conviction. He saw a problem and he did what he thought he needed to do to fix it. He talked the talk and he walked the walk. Or, in his case, he lived in a shack without any of those newfangled technological doodads he was so worried about.

Ted might have been onto something. I mean, look at us now. We’ve got our faces stuck in screens all day, we’re being tracked by our smartphones, and some of us even have machines cleaning our houses. It’s enough to make you wonder how Kaczynski saw it as the beginning of the end. He believed that with AI knowing us this well, we’d lose our ability to make decisions, to think for ourselves. We’d become like those little wind-up toys, just going where the AI tells us to, and thinking what it tells us to think.

Anyway, that’s Ted Kaczynski for ya. A man out of time. An eco-warrior before it was trendy. A loner and an activist. A prisoner given four life sentences. Okay, so maybe he wasn’t the best role model. But hey, it’s always the flawed ones that make for the best stories, right?

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