Unless you’ve been living in a cave or in an off the grid cabin in the middle of the wilderness, or in a van down by the river with a radio that doesn’t work, or some other form of communication with the world in general, you’ve heard about AI, artificial intelligence. Movies have been made about it. Magazine articles have been written about it. CBS News just ran an interview with Geoffrey Hinton titled “Godfather of artificial intelligence” weighs in on the past and potential of AI“. It’s well worth the time spent watching it. I wonder about benefits and governance in an AI world for humanity.
Discussion about AI is nothing new. I remember as a layman reading a 2000 WIRED magazine article by Bill Joy titled ” Why the Future Doesn’t Need Us” pertaining to the convergence of Nanotechnology, Robotics, and Genetic Engineering projected in the article to happen by 2030. AI was referred to as part of that trio. Part of Joys article wondered about the effects on humanity, and also discussed the ethics of these pursuits. Just because we can do a thing, should we?
I wonder about the benefits of AI for humanity, and I think that there can be many. At the same time many things that humans do now will probably be able to be done faster and with better accuracy and efficiency by a combination of AI, robotics, nanotechnology, and even genetic engineering. So many workers will be displaced. What do they do with their lives then?
Governance in an AI world
Displacement by these advancing technologies can free humanity to pursue activities and interests that bring them joy and purpose. But if humans don’t have to produce to have value, does capitalism make sense? Same thing for socialism and communism that rely on the contributions of the collective to the whole, but governed by the few. If this brave new intelligent machine world doesn’t need our contributions how much sense would socialism or communism make? Or autocracies? Would an intelligent machine determine that the whim and the will of one person is a governance strength or severely deficient ?
I think that it’s going to be necessary to take a different look at how humanity and AI is governed. Not just regionally, but globally. Do you think that intelligent machines will decide to vote red or blue based on whatever party is in power, if AI has a better idea? And Better for who? Humanity, or the intelligent machine or system? Will governments and military leaders listen to and follow the counsel of intelligent machines if it means relinquishing their own power?
And how will humanity be seen by this new machine intelligence? At best like intelligent life forms that have the ability to think, imagine, create, and contribute, or as a special pet to keep around because the machines love them, (can artificial intelligence understand and feel love?), or as a useless primitive life form whose existence is absolutely unnecessary to the intelligent and creative machine collective?
What do you think about benefits and governance in an AI world? The genie is already out of the bottle. Maybe these and other questions should be left for AI to answer. (That’s a joke, son. But really?)