There is no question that the continuing development of artificial intelligence (AI) technology will help humanity solve some difficult problems, with its ability to see patterns in complex data and arrive at novel solutions that any human mind would easily miss. But there is also no question that AI will be weaponized by those with ill intent to spread misinformation, destroy our privacy, and cleverly manipulate people to do their bidding. And it will enable a lot of us to do even less deep thinking and reflection then we do already.
Furthermore, if a significant fraction of the population won’t trust or believe humans who are experts in their field, why would they trust or believe AI insights guided by those same experts? Opportunists of questionable integrity and moral character always have been able to manipulate and distract the willfully or wantonly ignorant, and AI will make their job that much easier.
If we humans are to survive and thrive, we must address and solve fundamental human problems. I am not at all convinced that AI is going to help with that.
How is AI going to reduce, over several generations, human population from its current 8 billion to a more sustainable 1 billion by lowering the birth rate uniformly world wide? Those of us alive today are currently burning through the Earth’s physical and natural resources at an unprecedented rate and degrading the Earth’s climate and ecology, all because there are about 7 billion too many people alive today.
How is AI going to rid the world of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction? How is AI going to transform the world’s armies into agencies that provide humanitarian assistance, keep the peace, and enforce sensible international laws? How is AI going to transform the endless trillions the nations of the world spend on defense and warfare and redirect that vast sum of money to the betterment of humankind?
Fear and Hopelessness
How is AI going to rid the world of firearms and other weapons of self destruction?
How is AI going to ensure that the wisest, most knowledgeable, thoughtful, adaptable, intelligent, and compassionate people are our chosen leaders?
Will AI help us to understand why some people are hateful, or narcissistic, or violent, while most of us tend to be loving, altruistic, and peaceful—no matter what life throws at us? Will AI help us to truly and humanely rehabilitate those who begin exhibiting dangerous and antisocial behaviors?
Knowledge and Faith
Will AI help us to find a way for all religious believers to peacefully coexist with nonbelievers?
Or, will AI be just another technological distraction?