How AI Has Already Taken Over Democracy

When corporations have the right to speech, humans are screwed

Corporations have been legal persons since the VoC in the 1600s. They're also assholes

Corporations are AI. The Latin in corpore just means "in a body" and that's precisely what they are. In the eyes of the law and the state, corporations are artificial beings. Corporations have legal personhood, a fact well-established over centuries. Corporations also have political rights, including speech. The only thing that isn't established is calling them what they are. AI.

When we think of AI we think of humanoid robots and code, but none of this is relevant. An AI can be embodied in a corporation as much as a box. It can use human labor as much as gears. To paraphrase Forrest Gump, AI is as AI does. While the philosophical debate may rage on, the legal debate has been settled for centuries. Corporations are not just artificial people, they're as good as citizens.

Citizens United

As the US Supreme Court said in 1844:

It is that a corporation created by and doing business in a particular state is to be deemed to all intents and purposes as a person, although an artificial person, an inhabitant of the same state, for the purposes of its incorporation, capable of being treated as a citizen of that state as much as a natural person.

This legal (and thus political) fact has been established again and again, most recently in the 2010 case Citizens United. In that, the modern Supreme Court ruled that "we are convinced that, in the end, this corporation has a constitutional right to speak." The majority said "political speech is “indispensable to decisionmaking in a democracy, and this is no less true because the speech comes from a corporation rather than an individual.”"

As you can see the two categories of speaker (human and corporation) are considered equivalent. In fact, the Supreme Court argued that corporate AI is in many ways superior to human beings. Justice Scalia said, "despite the corporation-hating quotations the dissent has dredged up... To exclude or impede corporate speech is to muzzle the principal agents of the modern free economy."

Hence we go from corporations being treated like citizens to them being treated better. Hence we go from corporations granted very limited charters by the state to them telling governments what to do. And the real class warfare is us versus AI. As the majority opinion says:

Here they're talking about the free speech rights of corporations, and again saying that these super-citizens are often better than us, that they should be correcting our representatives. We're supposed to be debugging AI, but they're debugging us. The errors they point out, of course, are things like them having to pay taxes, or living wages, or not destroy the livable Earth. That is to say, it's not just that corporations are AI, they're malevolent AI, and they've already taken power. There is no battle, no SkyNet, no struggle at all. Through our own democracies, the deed is already done.