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We need to talk about our AI fetish

๐ŸŒˆ Abstract

The article discusses the challenges and implications of the rapid development of artificial intelligence (AI) technology. It draws parallels between the rise of AI and past technological advancements, such as the automobile, highlighting how we often fail to adequately prepare for the societal, economic, and environmental impacts of new technologies. The article emphasizes the need for a more thoughtful and proactive approach to governing and directing the development of AI, rather than allowing it to be driven solely by market forces and commercial interests.

๐Ÿ™‹ Q&A

[01] Artificial Intelligence and the Modern State

1. What are the key challenges that AI poses to the modern state?

  • AI poses challenges to the ideas underpinning the modern state, including governance, social and mental health, the balance between capitalism and protecting the individual, and the extent of cooperation and commerce with other states.

2. Why is it difficult to address the challenges posed by AI?

  • AI is an amorphous technology that has not yet fully defined itself, but is rapidly permeating various facets of our lives.

3. What lessons can we learn from past technological advancements, such as the rise of the automobile?

  • The rise of the automobile in the 1920s led to a shift in the perception of city streets, with motorists and pedestrians competing for precedence. This resulted in the dominance of car-centric infrastructure, which has taken decades to begin reversing.
  • The article suggests that we should not repeat the same mistakes with AI, and instead take a more proactive and thoughtful approach to governing its development.

[02] The Dangers of AI

1. What are the main dangers associated with the rapid development of AI?

  • The article highlights several dangers, including:
    • The concentration of resources and power in the hands of a few dominant AI companies, which can lead to technological lock-in and path dependence.
    • The "inevitability of the technology" narrative, driven by the need for these companies to see a return on their investments.
    • The risk of AI outstripping human intelligence and leaving us behind, as predicted by early AI pioneers like John von Neumann and Vernon Vinge.

2. Why have we not been better prepared for the potential impacts of AI?

  • The article suggests that we have a tendency to fetishize technological progress, focusing on the immediate benefits and failing to adequately consider the long-term implications.
  • There is also a lack of meaningful public debate and governance around the development of AI, with the discussion often dominated by those with a vested interest in its advancement.

3. What lessons can we learn from past failures to address the negative impacts of new technologies?

  • The article provides examples of how industries have historically downplayed or hidden the negative impacts of technologies, such as with leaded gasoline, asbestos, and thalidomide.
  • These examples demonstrate the need for greater scrutiny, regulation, and public oversight when it comes to the development and deployment of new technologies like AI.
Shared by Daniel Chen ยท
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