Saturday, April 23, 2016

Skynet, Artificial Intelligence, Matrix - We are ruled

There are many movies that show Man creating a machine, giving it a way to "think," and then being conquered by the machines. Terminator,  Artificial Intelligence,  The Matrix, ... Seriously, it's a long list. We watch them and ask if it could happen. Then Robin Williams in Bicentennial Man makes us feel all better.

But here's the thing... Maybe we need to look more at where we are right now. Because people aren't going to be conquered directly. We rise up,  we fight back, we have spirit. Only someone or something that can break that can rule us.

John and I have health insurance. It is mandatory in the US to have. Not just because of some Obama Care law-- that is just what made it easier to get. You need it because without it, getting health care is like trying to eat the moon. I've been there.

Recently, our health insurance sent out computer generated letters that changed our prescriptions. Not just us-- everyone John works with who has a prescription got these letters. Our drugs that we need in order to live well have been changed.

Did our doctor decide this? No. Did any doctor look at a chart and make this decision?  No. Perhaps a pharmacist at least checked into all this to be sure it was safe? Nope, keep dreaming.

A computer made health care decisions. It decided to have people try other drugs. Not because the ones they are on were not working, not because the ones prescribed weren't in the best interest-- the computer looked at costs and decided that was all that mattered. Side effects and interactions be damned. I know this because I had to ask why John was put back on something he had been taken off of previously. It's cheaper. Never mind that it didn't work.

We are only human,  after all. Cheaper to kill. That is the logic of a machine-- to weigh the cost of continued life against the money saved. Numbers.

And because we aren't rich, we must obey. Comply or die. I had to fight in the system to get John the right drugs. His supply ran out in the meantime. My best friend had surgery last month. The products she is supposed to use to STAY ALIIVE haven't come. Computers held them up three times. She's had to call manufacturers and beg for samples. She had to beg for her life.

Tell me again how it's all just science fiction and how the machines couldn't possibly win.

We don't know how to turn them off, but we already can't outwit them.