Thursday, 19 October 2017

Artificial intelligence is a short con wrapped in a 200+ year long con

I approach this from a different direction: there’s a difference between doing work and doing a job. Jobs change all the time, but productive work is something everyone can do, even if people classify productive work in different ways. Success is defined differently by everyone.

The trick about the AI debate is that it says people should work for companies. Whenever there’s a problem in the market, it’s always the lack of jobs, not lack of work. Economic success is measured by the number of jobs. This makes people think success is being employed by someone else. Company owners don’t want people to compete and beat their company. So they are nudged in the wrong direction when the narrative is that AI will take away jobs. That’s called controlling the capital.

The question you should be asking is: how can I use the AI to monopolise an industry? Forget competition. Competition is for losers. The goal is always to own every property on the game board. I appreciate that AI sounds scary, but think about the competitive advantage to a person who shed that fear early? And how useful would it be if everyone else continues to worry about AI? You're not supposed to have this thought. Can you feel us being nudged in the wrong direction? I can.

I don’t know how much I buy the quasi-religious fears either, to be honest. AI folk display many hallmarks of the superstitious. Just because a person has four degrees in rocket science doesn’t mean they’ve escaped their human nature to see false patterns in noise. Smart people can believe irrational things just as deeply as non-smart people, they just use better arguments to convince themselves.

But nonsense is nonsense, and every generation thinks theirs will be the final one. People, especially in the Christian West, tend to start with the premise that humans are special and somehow apart from the natural world. So long as humans retain centre stage in the world, even if we think we’re destroying it, we’re happy. We have to be the main character in the story of life. But this is just a superstition. For all we know, ants might be the main character.

Also, every culture has some sort of idea that life exists after we die. Why would the “secular” crew in Silicon Valley be different? The AI folk tend to see its creation as both a terrible thing to be feared, while also hoping it will allow them to “upload” their consciousnesses into that AI, and therefore live forever. How exactly is this different from the twin ideas of God and Heaven? It’s the same thing, just with new names.

I don’t believe for a second Musk is an atheist. Nor is Ray Kurzweil. They’re both just crypto-Christians pretending to have transcended the natural human tendency and need for religious and narcissistic belief. Their desire to believe humans are important of course means they think AI will overtake human intelligence and threaten the universe (the universe, for crying out loud!!). The important thing for Musk is not that AI is a threat, but that AI is a threat that humans invented.

No comments: