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  • Writer's pictureHamid Rafizadeh

Machine or Human?

In the morning, as I watched the questions and answers in Judge Barrett’s confirmation hearing, I couldn’t help but wonder if she had become fully machine and no longer a human. All of us get socially conditioned to act as machines and many of us know when to switch to become a human. A human can relate to other humans and can answer questions in ways that humans can understand. A machine only responds in machine language that only the like machines and no other can understand. Humans are left out when machines speak. I felt totally left out when Judge Barrett spoke. She never showed any human signs. She never spoke to me.

The human-machine transition has been known for a long time. For example, Philip Zimbardo’s prison experiment clearly demonstrates the ease with which humans can be turned into machines behaving as prisoner and guard. Yet I can’t shake the thought of adding a machine to the Supreme Court where the structures that bind every human—the laws—get finalized. A human would consider the effect of binding a human too tightly so it would be hard to breathe, but a machine would not.



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