After wilfully ignoring the intelligences of others for so long, the centrality of human intelligence is on the point of being knocked violently aside by our own inventions. A new Copernican trauma looms, wherein we find ourselves standing upon a ruined planet, not smart enough to save ourselves, and no longer by any stretch of the imagination the smartest ones around. Any appeal to survival will have to be made both to technology and other non-human intelligences, and it will be possible only if we are prepared to accept the toy intelligences we’re building not as yet more indications of our own superiority, but as intimations of our ultimate interdependence, and as calls to humility and care.
Surveillance is “Orwellian when accurate, Kafkaesque when inaccurate,” Privacy International’s Frederike Kaltheuner told me. These systems are probabilistic, and “by definition, get things wrong sometimes,“ Kaltheuner elaborated. “There is no 100 percent. Definitely not when it comes to subjective things.”