Critical Response #2:
"Power to the People / Humans in the Loop"

by Marise van Zyl

Description of this reading response:
I wrote a speculative fiction (very) short story in response to the following two articles:

S. Amershi et. al. 2014. "Power to the People: The Role of Humans in Interactive Machine Learning."
Link here.

G. Wang. 2019. "Humans in the Loop: The Design of Interactive AI Systems."
Link here.

Reading Response 2: L(AI)FE

I wake up.

Actually, no. Scratch that.
I am woken up by my bed, notifying me that it’s time for my first routine of the day. Slowly, my mattress tilts forward until I am vertical. At this point, I don’t have to think about it. I walk to the coffee machine to drink my Donut Shop, medium roast, K-cup coffee with lactose-free milk (poured from the fridge), with one sugar. Only, is it a little bitter today? It doesn’t matter. They won’t change it.

What’s next?
Right! As I am reminded to brush my teeth by the squirting of the toothpaste onto my toothbrush that I hear coming from the bathroom. I walk over, stand in front of the mirror and the two minutes start. This one is okay because I just have to stand there, the system already knows where my weaknesses are. I always hate the tongue part. But, this is good dental hygiene. So, I stick it out and wait for the system to do its thing.

Next is breakfast. I walk over and eat the quick-serve oats that have been meticulously prepared with a squirt of honey and a teaspoon of Chia seeds. Next to my plate, already dispensed, are my vitamins. It looks like a new one was added today. I wonder what that’s for? I drink it with a cup of water until I hear the beep to show me that I have hydrated sufficiently for now.

Getting dressed in the mornings used to be a problem for me. I never knew what to wear. But today, it’s outfit number 23.
I like this one.
I think.

The rest of my morning routines run smoothly and before I know it, I am dropped off at work by the Multi-bus. I greet coworker number three and we exchanged pleasantries. Today, we were told to talk about the stock exchange. I got my prompt earlier on the ride to work. It was a good conversation.

Work functions as usual and at the programmed time my sensor buzzes to let me know that it’s time to go home.

On tonight‘s entertainment agenda, they have decided on a TV series about sports. It is a good one. Although no one ever wins, it’s still exciting to cheer for my team. This week, it was the red one. I wonder if humans could’ve played sports. Would we be good at it? Or would we make too many mistakes?

My sensor buzzes, indicating that it’s time for bed. I don’t necessarily feel tired, but I’m probably wrong.
The system never fails.

As I sit on my bed and it starts reclining back, I realize that I didn’t blink today. That’s okay though. The system already knows and the eyedropper is already waiting to disperse artificial tears into my eyes before I drift off into a dreamless sleep - ready for routine 436,820.

Part 2: 10 Things I would interactively chAInge

1. What if ChatGPT didn't just spit out all words, but I could give it my bullet points/rough writing and it just reworded them nicely for me?
2. What if I could I could save the successful practice runs on my french horn for a difficult musical phrase and it would just cut out any mistakes during performance?
3. What if I could show my blanket how to tuck in Bruno for his morning nap and it would do it if he started shaking a lot?
4. What if I could play an open world game that I can control more of the environment of by telling it what I like and don't like?
5. What if the recycling/trash cans could tell me which one to throw my different things in?
6. What if I could write lyrics/melody, sing it badly into the computer, and it would automatically make it sound better?
7. What if I could train my Alexa to sense my mood when I come in and play the exact song I need when I come home?
8. What if ChatGPT and I could work together to actually solve a problem?
9. What if the tests we write could be analyzed by an AI that determines what individual students don't know or understand and can suggest remedial work?
10. What if VS code could just take the formatting that I'm doing with indents, etc. and put it on the damn web page?