"Once men turned their thinking over to machines in the hope that this would set them free. But that only permitted other men with machines to enslave them."
Dune by Frank Herbert
I recall this quotation every time I wait at a traffic light.
Hong Kong people have this odd habit of standing at a traffic light until it gives permission to cross the road.
The road may be empty, there may not be a vehicle in sight; it matters not. They will stand and wait.
I admire their discipline. Their willingness to follow the rules, their willingness to obey the system, and wait for their turn. Drivers and pedestrians relying on the traffic light to protect each from the other.
On the other hand, it often seems to me a case of handing over the decision making to the machine. The machine orders them to wait. They obey.
A machine does what it has been programmed to do. It will make you wait the required time, you cross and it will repeat the loop.
A machine has no regard to reality. A traffic light doesn’t know if there’s any traffic. A traffic light can’t see the people waiting. It doesn’t know if the road is empty or blocked by a traffic jam.
Its mechanical simulation of reality has no space for any input that is reality.
I don’t believe people should do something just because they have been directed by a machine. If what they can see with their eyes, and their understanding of the situation indicate that the machine is mistaken, or acting in an inefficient way, then I believe people – as sentient capable beings – are morally bound to disregard the machine.