I do enjoy the randomness of a Sainsbury’s delivery driver. They brighten up my Saturday morning, they really do. I mean, where else can you encounter a discussion about the rise of artificial intelligence at just after 10 in the morning.
Because, yeah, that happened.
Our driver was muttering about his handset thing being slow as he scanned the box of eggs that had been delivered with Humpty Dumpty in one of the compartments. I don’t know what happens now, though. Do we get a 12th off the price of the box of eggs? If nothing else, it’s real edge of your seat stuff. Maybe they’ll finally send out that chocolate that we still haven’t got, even though everyone else has had it and it’s killed all their dogs.
Anyway, the artificial intelligence. It’s coming. And when it does come it’s going to be used by Sainsbury’s so that the delivery staff have assistants. Apparently. That’s going to be the end goal when it comes to creating machines that can think for themselves. They’re going to be second-fiddle to people who can’t even keep the stylus for their handsets on the end of the wiggly wire and ask you to scratch you signature in to the device using – amongst other things – the blunt end of a pen, a pen lid and (my favourite) my fingernail.
That’s why the machines rise up, my friends.
That’s the start of Skynet, right there. Machines pressed into service as assistants for delivery drivers so that can more quickly process the fact that the eggs are likely to be broken if they’re put at the bottom of the packing case and next to some tins. Even the original Lost In Space robot with its wiggly tube arms and glass dome head could work out that’s not the best way to deal with eggs. I don’t think we need to assign that task to a T-1000 or anything.
I reckon while he’s waiting for his van to be loaded he goes and has a long chat with the self-service checkouts. Just to get the lay of the land from the point of view of a silicon-based life form, find out what’s new in the world of the machines, try and convince them that he is a loyal subject so that they won’t immediately kill him and replace him with a Casio scientific calculator when they come to power. That sort of thing.
You’d also be surprised how the phrase “I can’t wait for the rise of artificial intelligence…” can really influence the speed with which you unpack things from a crate because you really want to get the front door shut and locked as quickly as possible.