This decade, artificial intelligence went from being employed chiefly as an academic subject or science fiction trope to an unobtrusive (though occasionally malicious) everyday companion. AIs have been around in some form since the 1500s or the 1980s, depending on your definition. The first search indexing algorithm was AltaVista in 1995, but it wasn’t until 2010 that Google quietly introduced personalized search results for all customers and all searches. What was once background chatter from eager engineers has now become an inescapable part of daily life.

 One function after another has been turned over to AI jurisdiction, with huge variations in efficacy and consumer response. The prevailing profit model for most of these consumer-facing applications, like social media platforms and map functions, is for users to trade their personal data for minor convenience upgrades, which are achieved through a combination of technical power, data access, and rapid worker disenfranchisement as increasingly complex service jobs are doubled up, automated away, or taken over by AI workers.

 The Harvard social scientist Shoshana Zuboff explained the impact of these technologies on the economy with the term “surveillance capitalism.” This new economic system, she wrote, “unilaterally claims human experience as free raw material for translation into behavioral data,” in a bid to make profit from informed gambling based on predicted human behavior.