The people behind the AI Curtain

“So much of what passes for automation isn’t really automation,” says writer and documentarian Astra Taylor. She describes a moment when she was waiting to pick up her lunch at a cafe, and another customer walked in, awestruck, wondering aloud how the app knew that his order was ready 20 minutes early. The woman behind the counter just looked at him and said, “I just sent you a message.”

“He was so convinced that it was a robot,” Taylor says. “He couldn’t see the human labor right in front of his eyes.”

She calls this process fauxtomation: “Fauxtomation renders invisible human labor to make computers seem smarter than they are.”

“AI” usually relies on a lot of low-paid human labor.

Katharine Manning Schwab writing in Fast Company