AI frustrations - the battle for virtual sanity

Experts warn that artificial intelligence (AI) could one day wipe out humanity. Well, humanity has tried everything else, so this is a new twist: self-destruction, but by AI....

By Lubna Jerar Naqvi
September 29, 2023


Experts warn that artificial intelligence (AI) could one day wipe out humanity. Well, humanity has tried everything else, so this is a new twist: self-destruction, but by AI.


As this is going to happen one day—hopefully, the day is not too soon—I still have an undisclosed deadline, which gives me time to achieve some personal goals like losing weight and verifying myself as a human every time I want to log in on one of my social media accounts. And, given the number of times I have had to verify myself—something I will continue to do indefinitely—I would rather have AI end it now. It is so infuriating to have to keep trying to prove I am me and not you or anyone else. Why do I have to do this? I spend too much time trying to prove myself. And to the AI, of course.

As a professional, I like to improve my skills and keep myself updated as much as possible. So, when I began using social media platforms and emails back so many years ago, I began taking online safety courses and workshops to learn how to protect my data (extremely vain of me; no one would want to read it if I offered it to them) and other information and content—out of focus, motion pictures taken in the dark. The excuse for these blurry motion pictures is living in a street crime-inflicted city like Karachi, where the phone is the easiest thing to lose to someone if it is out in the open long enough for some bad guy to notice.

Anyway, it sounded like a good idea to protect my data, which made me feel very important, you see. And I take all these different steps to verify: ask for codes, punch in finger and thumb prints on devices, and use facial recognition. It was so cool initially when I had to keep repeating the same thing several times in one go, only to find out the session had expired and I would have to wait for 20 hours to get back in. Why?

Many security and safety workshops later, I have now learned different ways to protect my data by keeping unwanted people out. Most of us now know the two-step verification, etc. With the advancement in AI—yes, when your phone asks if you are logging in to your laptop, it is AI—it has become quite infuriating to live in the virtual world.

When you are multitasking with a phone, laptop, pen, and paper and members of your family walk in to talk for various reasons, mostly advice, it is enraging to have an artificially intelligent being doubt your integrity. I am tired of constantly going through the devices like a clumsy pianist trying to tap all the buttons, making patterns align—even that small pin dot on the corner of the verification square.

QR codes keep logging out, fingerprints slip, and face recognition is insulting. As if one’s self-esteem is not low enough, now the AI is going to tell me I am unrecognizable. What does it mean to imply? I am not presentable enough and should leave the room and go wash my face and maybe put some makeup on. Oh, this is too much. I should simply let it go and get a life. I can’t help it if the heat melts my mascara and lipstick and the face recognition app fails to recognize my features.

Seriously. Toxic AI.

And stop sending me messages of suspicious activity on my phone or laptop or of logins from Pluto—it’s me. I am literally sitting right next to both devices and within range of the TV. Give me a break!

Another thing that makes me wonder is: who reads anymore? So why do many websites want to put in an extra effort to get in? The young actually hate reading, so what is the point of annoying the few of us who actually open stories to read to keep proving we are human? Websites should be happy if someone is still interested in reading and they have traffic.

Do you know what is actually bizarre? Let me tell you, for I am sure you don’t! AI, or whatever gremlins are working behind the virtual scene, know what I have watched or am intending to watch. I keep getting ads for things I may have mentioned but have no intention of buying like videos that keep distracting me from work, etc.

I swear, sometimes it is like my mind is being scanned and content curated just for me that will keep me up after 4 a.m. Videos of how to cook, bake, sew a party dress, or adorn the gypsy bride’s gown with crystals are none of my favourite things in reality, but I love to watch them.

But when it comes to verifying my identity, AI goes blank. It is as if we are strangers who have never met before. It has never verified my finger or thumbprint or seen my face. This leaves me fuming and screaming at the devices—actually at AI—making anyone watching see me going, Karen.

I hate the virtual smirk of that AI as it sees me, the human, the all-power species as far as it is concerned, who can be wiped out by this artificial nemesis, going nuts as it constantly keeps messing with logins and asking for verifications.

Then we have virtual assistance and maps, which are another game altogether: mapping, GPS, or whatever is an art form that is supposed to help you navigate yourself. I am done with this; I think we’ve got an abstract artist with a cruel sense of humour. Why can’t I find a short route to anywhere I want to go? Finding a location was probably faster when people used the stars as their guides.

There are so many whines, but I will just end with the grammar checks. There are slangs I want to use, so please leave me alone and stop dictating to me. I don’t want to write in Siamese English or Roman Urdu; I want to write in English (United Kingdom or United States).

Let me live and work in peace, AI. That’s all I ask.