“Fuck the algorithm.” The defining battle of the Zoomers’ lives will be against AI-enabled oppression

The story of an algorithm — the scapegoat for government and regulator incompetence — taking away young people’s futures in the UK is just the start.

We live in an era of decadence. Not decadence among the young — who party less, have sex less, spend less — but among the establishments, political, financial and cultural, who flaunt their wealth and the disparity between their power and money and those who have neither. LetThemEatCakeism is a dominant political philosophy that dominates political parties in the West, whether they wave a red flag or a blue flag.

But while they and their children glory in obscene displays of wealth and privilege, the establishments’ political wings kid on that they are now populist, that they act in the interest of the people, that they are people’s governments. It is a bald and blatant lie. They are governments for themselves and for the donors that finance the campaigns that put them in power.

The story that is currently dominating the headlines in the United Kingdom — students, denied the chance to take their exams by the pandemic and a government of historically incredible incompetence, being awarded grades by an opaque algorithm — is from a category that will dominate the next hundred years. [Ru Paul voice]: Category is… Fuck the algorithm.

That’s the phrase that was chanted during protests against the Great Grade Swindle in London yesterday: “Fuck the algorithm!” It will become the rallying cry for this generation and the generations that follow it. Because ‘the algorithm’ is magic now. It’s the thing that politicians — lazy, feckless, vain and money-grubbing — see as the solution to war, health, crime, education, food, and social deprivation. They don’t need policies and human empathy; they need the algorithm.

And Silicon Valley startups, handmaidens for the rapacious venture capital class, will keep selling them these magic AI solutions. And those solutions, built on the back of inequalities baked into the current system, will increase inequality and do what the VCs and their political pals want: They will maintain the inequality and maintain the system as it is. AI will not fix the world, it will just break it faster.

So the war has already begun. Stand with the younger generations and join in the chant: Fuck. The. Algorithm.

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Writer, editor and internet arguer.

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