Robocop might be coming to Jiji Ndogo

The threat of Artificial Intelligence taking over police work is real

In Summary

• Sgt Makini has a rough time coming to terms with how prophetic movies can be


If you know me well (which you should by now), then you know that among other skills I am deficient in, being a geek is one. In fact, I’m the opposite of a science geek. A lowbrow, philistine, a dunce… Whatever rocks your boat.

My science teacher once told me a wheelbarrow would’ve been more useful in my place. I had in mind several items that would’ve been a better replacement for his head, but my ethics teacher (whom I adored deeply) had warned us against derisive language towards our elders.

But seriously, Mr Science Teacher, for what purpose is a solar system made from balls? Or generating electricity from a lemon? Even my katulituli phone will baulk at the idea of being charged by a lemon.

So, when someone tries to explain to me how global warming generates record-low temperatures, my head begins to hurt, and my brain turns to more immediate matters like… “We say ‘God bless you’ when someone sneezes. So, what would we say if God sneezed? ‘Bless yourself’?” Or… “If money doesn’t grow on trees, why do banks have branches?” You know, greater philosophical questions.

That said, a science topic that has gained great traction lately has me thinking… Are humans about to be replaced by Artificial Intelligence? Until recently, all I knew about AI is that, way back in 1984 (long before I was born, for context) a guy with the impossible name of Arnold Schwarzenegger, came back from the future to save a young man from a machine called The Terminator, also from the future. In case unlike me, you haven’t discovered this little gem in your local “movie theatre”, I suggest you check it out.

You see, the young man in the movie would supposedly grow up to lead a small army of nearly extinct humans against the dominant machines that will have taken over the world. And apparently, the army would be such a thorn that the machines would be forced to go back in time and kill the leader when he is young to keep the war from happening.

Well, Mr Schwarzenegger, you might have the last laugh. If recent events are anything to go by, the machine revolution has started. You think that influencer you love on social media (the one you shower with gifts on TikTok and to whose sensual videos you keep commenting, “Please marry me”) is real?

You might want to think again because virtual (fake) influencers are all over, and are virtually indistinguishable from their human counterparts. Do you wish for a virtual girlfriend with the all the desirable characteristics of a human girl and none of the downsides? For about 150 bucks a minute, CarynAI is available.

“But that’s for the stupid people who go gaga over media personalities,” you say. “How does that boil my beans?”

How, you ask? Let me tell you how. By now you should know AI is already driving cars, right? In Malaysia, India, China and other countries, AI is also presenting the news. And soon, AI will take the place of teachers, computer programmers, data analysts and so on. What say you now, Mr Science Teacher? I’m a cop now, not a soon-to-extinct tutor or researcher. Still think a wheelbarrow…

Oh, wait! There’s that other movie called Robocop. Damn! Soon, I might be out of a job, while a heavy-stomping, armour-plated, no-nonsense android polices the streets of Jiji Ndogo. “Go ahead and do it,” I can imagine him saying. “Dead or alive, you’re coming with me.”

Which gets me thinking, “How do towels get dirty if you only ever use them when you’re clean?”

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