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The Five Stages Of AI Grief | NOEMA

๐ŸŒˆ Abstract

The article discusses the various stages of grief and reactions that people have towards the emergence of artificial intelligence (AI), drawing parallels to Sigmund Freud's concept of "Copernican Traumas" - moments that challenge and decenter the human from its privileged position. The author explores the different forms of AI Denial, AI Anger, AI Bargaining, AI Depression, and AI Acceptance, analyzing the underlying motivations and implications of each response. The article concludes by proposing a "Non-Grief" perspective that recognizes AI as part of a broader evolutionary process of intelligence, rather than a threat to human existence.

๐Ÿ™‹ Q&A

[01] Denial

1. What are the different types of AI Denial described in the article? The article outlines three main types of AI Denial:

  • Phenomenological denial: Arguing that AI cannot be truly intelligent because it lacks embodied experience like humans.
  • Political denial: Claiming that AI is not real, but rather a political or ideological construct used for power and control.
  • Procedural denial: Dismissing AI as just "stochastic reasoning" or "glorified autocomplete" rather than genuine intelligence.

2. How does the author view the role of denial in understanding AI? The author acknowledges that many forms of denial have been crucial in honing the understanding of what machine intelligence is and is not capable of. However, the author also criticizes certain forms of denial that involve cherry-picking examples, moving goalposts, and obstinately inventing alternative "facts" to suit a preferred worldview.

[02] Anger

1. What are the main sources of anger towards AI according to the article? The article identifies two main sources of anger towards AI:

  1. Warranted anger based on the real harms and challenges posed by the current deployment and configuration of AI technologies.
  2. Unwarranted anger that stems from AI being viewed as a symbolic threat to human identity, autonomy, and status quo power structures.

2. How does the author characterize the overlap between different ideological positions in expressing AI Anger? The author notes that AI Anger can be expressed across the political spectrum, from reactionary right-wing to progressive left-wing ideologies. Despite their differences, these groups often find common cause in defending their preferred version of human exceptionalism and trying to "win" the battle for societal self-representation against the perceived threat of AI.

[03] Bargaining

1. What are the key assumptions and limitations of the "AI Bargaining" approach described in the article? The article outlines how the "AI Bargaining" approach relies on the assumptions that:

  • AI can be effectively governed through policy, legislation, and "human-centric design ethics".
  • There are self-evident "human values" that can be identified and aligned with AI development. However, the article argues that these assumptions may be overly simplistic and fail to account for the deeper, more fundamental challenges posed by the evolution of machine intelligence.

2. How does the author critique the role of political and legal institutions in the "AI Bargaining" approach? The author is skeptical that modern governments and political institutions are truly equipped to pilot the transformations brought about by AI. The article suggests that the premise of these institutions being in charge of AI's future may be more of a self-assuring "meta-message" than an accurate reflection of reality.

[04] Depression

1. What are the two main forms of "AI Depression" described in the article? The article outlines two main forms of "AI Depression":

  1. The "AI Doomer" perspective, which envisions imminent and inevitable catastrophic outcomes from advanced AI.
  2. The perspective of the "scholastic establishment" (e.g. law, government, liberal arts) that sees AI as a delinquent threat to their own institutional authority and duty to supervise society.

2. How does the author characterize the oscillation between euphoria and despair in the "AI Depression" mindset? The author draws a parallel between "AI Depression" and "manic depression", noting a tendency to flip between extremes of messianic hope and solemn apocalyptic despair regarding the future of AI. This "horseshoe theory" dynamic is seen as a key characteristic of the "AI Depression" stage of grief.

[05] Acceptance

1. What does "AI Acceptance" entail according to the article? The article presents "AI Acceptance" as a perspective that recognizes the emergence of machine intelligence as an outcome of deeper evolutionary forces that exceed conventional historical frames of reference. This view sees the implications of artificial intelligence as potentially superseding our current vocabulary and understanding.

2. How does the author distinguish "AI Acceptance" from mere "acquiescence"? The author suggests that "AI Acceptance" is not simply a passive acquiescence, but rather a recognition that the present is not autonomous from the past and future, and that even powerful decisions are made within determining constraints. This perspective avoids reifying the current form of AI as inevitable, and instead sees it as a phase in a broader evolutionary process of intelligence.

[06] Non-Grief

1. What is the "Non-Grief" perspective proposed by the author? The "Non-Grief" perspective emphasizes the reconciliation of the "Copernican Trauma" of what AI means with new understandings of "life," "technology," and "intelligence." It sees the evolution of machine intelligence as part of a broader process of the artificialization of intelligence, rather than a threat to human existence.

2. How does the author's collaboration with astrobiologist Sara Walker inform this "Non-Grief" perspective? The author references Walker's work, which frames "life" and "technology" as part of the same evolutionary process of selection and complexification. This view suggests that the emergence of advanced machine intelligence is not a rupture, but rather a phase shift in the ongoing evolution of planetary intelligence, of which humans are a part but not the sole or final expression.

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