As much as we love and admire technology, it has a huge blind spot of naivety.
All we need to do is look at the structure of the Internet. Web experts today will quickly tell you that the creators of the Internet didn’t give much thought at all to security.
Where’s the security?
This is why online infrastructure is fraught with security holes and compromises. And why hackers are having a field day at our expense.
Apparently, the very same thing is happening with artificial intelligence. We first look at artificial intelligence and think about how cool it is and what it can do for us.
But then it hits us.
It’s like a very dangerous tropical storm that is slowly heading our way. The question is how much damage will it inflict on our society?
Artificial intelligence – a Godsend or bait?
Freedom-loving western societies have been built on the notion that no one person will ever know our thoughts, joys, or ambitions better than we ourselves do. Therefore, we alone have the mental freedom to take full charge of our own lives, and our government has no say in the matter.
And our lives unfold in accordance with famous philosopher Immanuel Kant’s view on life. No one has the right to force their idea of the good life upon us.
Unfortunately, artificial intelligence (AI) is going to change the assumption of mental freedom we’ve always enjoyed. AI’s objective is to learn to understand and know us much better than we know ourselves. Any government that has tools that are driven by AI will quickly learn the wants, needs, and desires of the populous.
Elements of AI is already at work
Marketers have already been using elements of artificial intelligence in today’s marketing algorithms. Have you ever noticed that right after you’ve heavily researched a product online, every site that you visit afterward shows ads about that product?
Researchers have been using algorithms for years to find out things like:
- The sequence in which to layout blocks of content in a sales letter that gets the most sales.
- Which images create the most interest in a banner or ad?
- What questions attract the most interaction?
Yes, there’s nothing ethically wrong with any of these items, but take a step back and think about persuasion in general.
It’s how AI algorithms learn to persuade humans that is most concerning.
If artificial intelligence can easily persuade more people to buy Product A over Product B, you could also convince people that there’s nothing wrong with totalitarianism either.
Each hell starts with a promise of heaven
Earth has a very rich history of this manipulative pattern. Today’s Venezuela comes to mind, so does Nazi Germany.
That wonderful promise of freedom morphs into conditional freedom that demands obedience to the state. And you’re the selfish one for daring to go against them.
Totalitarianism that is led by artificial intelligence will be the most powerful ever seen in the world – it will almost be impossible to defeat.
To prevent such a dreadful scenario, we must not let them discover who we are.
A few years ago, billionaire investor Peter Thiel stated that AI was “literally communist”. He emphasized the pattern of how AI gravitates toward centralizing power structures so that it can monitor citizens and learn more about them than they even know about themselves. As Thiel quickly pointed out, China has embraced AI like a new puppy.
If we’ve been paying attention, then we should already know AI’s ability to fit into totalitarianism by the way it surveils and controls. And now we are seeing big tech companies compile huge quantities of data regarding our behavior. Their machine keeps churning these numbers to learn not only what we do, but who we are as individuals.
AI is already showing dictator tendencies
Nowadays, we see AI predicting what films we’ll like, what news we’ll read, and even who we’ll befriend on social media. It now predicts which couples will stay together, and which people will likely attempt suicide. From just our Facebook likes, AI can identify political and religious views, our personality, our intelligence, and our happiness levels.
Some of these predictions are not very good, while some are pretty good. But the bad news is that AI accuracy will only improve because it has learned to do that very thing.
The political implications of these developments are nothing short of seismic. Think about what could happen if governments have this kind of data about us. They will feel completely justified in tyrannizes us for our own good.