Our Desk | The human pets

Renato Marques

At times when slavery is once again put to discussion and several movements, some more or less anarchic, others more or less organized, try to highlight it in the easiest way possible by doing the wrong thing, I woke up thinking how ignorance can be bliss.
It is pretty clear to me that the social paradigm has changed and those old-fashioned ideas of “educating citizens to think, to analyze and solve problems” have already given way to a new trend that would translate to something like “educating citizens to act as a herd without questioning the orders of the herd leader.”
I, an admitted skeptic of artificial intelligence (AI), find myself realizing that AI is already a huge reality in most sectors of our society, it is just dressed in different clothes.
My misconception about AI came from old science fiction movies where robotic machines had gained the capacity to act and to think (to some extent) as humans. None of this reflects the reality in which, unlike what I expected, humans are the ones turning into robots and acting, if not brainlessly, at least like programmed machines.
To this new trend and stubbornly refusing to call this change AI, I give them the new name of “human pets.”
Although they are not slaves (by definition) as they are “paid” or get something in exchange, these human pets have little of what makes us human beings. They have lost the capacity to think on their own, and the small parts of rationality left seek to fulfill two simple necessities: satisfaction of basic needs and following orders (blindly).
Although many times mistreated, pets have developed an extreme dependency on their “owners.”
I can only find a similar form of dependency and affection in “Stockholm syndrome,” a syndrome characterized by feelings of trust or affection felt in cases of kidnapping or hostage-taking by a victim toward a captor.
In exchange, the leaders provide them with means of livelihood and “belly rubs” that can come in the form of “special benefits” or rule relaxing when compared to the other members of the herd, or so they think.
Another of the characteristics of the human pets is their life goal, which is to be not the leader of the pack, but to be the best of all the followers. For that, they are willing to step on and climb on top of any of their “mates” to praise their leader.
This happens everywhere (look around you) and, to me at least, it is becoming extremely concerning as we are quickly heading towards not an expansion of some forms of democracy and added freedom, but different and new forms of dictatorship, some of the size of a country, others of the size of a family.
Like pets, sometimes we think this temporary comfort is better than “a whole life of struggle” but what are the consequences? We should know that by now. It has been written in the history books. That is why the books exist, to show to future generations how we managed to evolve as humans and above all, as a society and not to perpetuate old systems and ideas of the past.
My question is, are we still evolving as a society? Are we still developing to become better as people and as groups of people? Or without realizing, we reached that peak some time ago and, we are now headed in the opposite direction?
I guess to teach machines to think as humans (as in AI) finally proved to be (as I thought) a much harder task than to teach humans to stop thinking and acting like machines.

Categories Opinion