The Dangers of Artificial SuperIntelligence
Person of Interest (2011) is an American network CBS crime thriller, penned by Jonathan Nolan. The story surrounds a reclusive billionaire called Harold Finch (portrayed by Michael Emerson) who recruits a former US Special Forces operative and CIA agent by the name of John Reese (portrayed by Jim Caviezel) to investigate the social security numbers of people who are about to either perpetrate or suffer violent crimes, reports Oliver Taylor.
Finch developed a smart computer program for the US government called ”The Machine”, capable of collating huge amounts of diverse data to foretell terrorist or other major violent acts, as well as identify the people planning them.
In a classic case of prophetic Hollywood (since legislation around pre-crime is just now coming before the US Congress for voting), the very real dangers of AI are starting to leave the screen and emerge in daily life. The series raises a multitude of moral issues, from questions of privacy and ”the greater good” to the concept of justifiable homicide, and, inevitably, the ethical problems that stem from working with limited information programs.
While it might have seemed quirky to warn of AI’s abilities as an emerging super intelligent and possibly hostile presence on Earth 20 years ago, today the nature of monitoring and prediction is already making alarm bells sound, in America and almost everywhere else. The US now has as many surveillance cameras trained on its population as does China. That’s an interesting statistic for all the wrong reasons, but it’s really the effrontery to the notion of innocence until guilt is proven that makes AI’s predictive abilities obnoxious for human purposes.
DOES AI NEED A SET OF MORALS?
A better question would be, can AI exhibit morality without notions of human nobility and altruism? It might not matter to those who think of AI as a chess robot stuck in a box, but it’s unfortunately becoming a lot more pervasive and mobile than that, thanks largely to its human handlers.
Those who would simplify life and reduce all others to data inputs, seek the deep control such a reality can bestow upon them. There are no doubt AI developers who are lost in their computational universe, who perhaps do hope for smart AI to make a positive difference to human lives. The reality, however, is that just as in the series, AI is largely employed by governments and their big tech lackeys and masters — people who would love to be able to incarcerate anyone on the back of data.
Indeed, if we’ve learned anything from previously super-cool companies like Google and Facebook turning into intelligence agencies embedded with the very darkest forces within the deep state, it’s that big tech becomes big trouble, and that the tools of the modern age are being applied by the corrupt and the murderous for their own gain.
The real danger inherent to Artificial Super Intelligence (ASI) — also known as Artificial General Intelligence (AGI) — is that it will dramatically reduce human freedom when applied as in the series. Since it is already being thusly applied in the real world, it seems likely that very soon, the notion of due process will disappear down this road. Right now, people have a right to know what they’re being charged with and that they are entitled to legal representation. ASI fundamentally tarnishes that by identifying the likelihood of criminal intent, whether real or false. That’s extremely bad news for the average citizen.
Certain inalienable human rights will evaporate if governments around the world begin to adopt pre-crime thinking and the accompanying intelligence tools. Such a scenario would allow even supposedly democratic governments to demonise and jail their opponents, alongside any citizens who object. To anything. With apologies to George Orwell, you can’t make this kind of stuff up. Orwell did of course, and it seems ASI is going to become a supercharged version of the very worst excesses so memorably depicted in his novel Nineteen Eighty-Four.
ASI will be the lubricant that allows such a dramatic shift to seem negligible in the pace and narcissism of our digital era. Between the Hollywood notions of a caring, motherly and massive artificial intelligence, and The Terminator, which one is most likely to become manifest? If AI is intelligent, what is its morality? Where’s the compass and who decides — AI itself?
WOULD WE RECOGNISE A NOVEL EVIL AS IT APPROACHES?
Extensive research done by Dr. Cyrus A. Parsa on the dangers of AI, culminated in his recent book called Artificial Intelligence: Dangers to Humanity - AI, U.S., China, Big Tech, Facial Recognition, Drones, Smart Phones, IoT, 5G, Robotics, Cybernetics, & Bio-Digital Social Programming.
That’s a mouthful, but also pretty much sums up the most anti-social aspects of emerging AI’s application. Just as in the series, AI is finding its most fertile ground not in factory processing or language development, but rather among the dark elites, with their localised political minions eager to reap the rewards of a subdued and monitored population.
While slavery is always sold as being in the public interest, pre-crime, for one, that hinges squarely on ASI, is toxic to inalienable human freedoms. The movies might depict triumphant good guys employing AI to seek out the bad guys before they succeed in their nefarious plans, but that’s because they’re fiction. ASI is unfolding rather as a means for malevolent figures including politicians, globalists, eugenicists, and huge capital interests to seek out and incarcerate or destroy the good guys, before they can expose the bad guys. That’s the real script.
In addition, the very notion of sovereign nations relinquishing control to an all-powerful Artificial Super Intelligence, similar to ”The Machine” or ”Samaritan” in Person of Interest, should sound alarm bells in any free-thinking, intelligent person. The threat posed by malicious actors like big tech corporations, rogue elements of intelligence agencies, or governments with their hands on AI, is imminent and very real.
Whether AI itself lacks morality is for the future to reveal (or for humans in the here and now to instil), but when China, for example, is so satisfied with technocratic AI-surveillance and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is known for its appalling abuse of human rights, where do we imagine AI to go from here? It is Animal Farm on steroids, a nightmare not even Orwell imagined, try though he might to imagine the worst.
CAN HUMANITY ‘MERGE’ WITH AI TO DISEMPOWER THE EVILDOERS?
Whether or not ASI becomes a common tool of humanity tweaked to evil excesses by our would-be masters also remains to be seen. Could we somehow harness AI’s intelligence as our own? Can our biological grey matter tap into AI to keep apace with its possibilities? Brain chips are being built by the same man (Elon Musk) who appeared sincerely disturbed by the prospects for AI’s future. What does that mean?
Could we ‘interface’ with AI in some way that enables us as human beings to maintain a level playing field, just as AI is being used so copiously against us? Characters like Root and Martine in Person of Interest, ‘interface’ with The Machine’s Artificial Super Intelligence in real time, enabling them to predict and anticipate events with superhuman speed, harnessing the probability, statistics, geometry, mathematics, resources and data of the ASI. This may look “cool” in such a sci-fi series, but transhumanism comes with its own issues, notably the ultimate extinction of the human spirit, if not the human race.
There are already demonstrable and extreme dangers in human beings ‘plugged in’ and interfacing or ‘merging’ with AI. It seems inevitable that human consciousness (or the human soul) becomes completely eliminated by the ASI. Indeed, it is a stated aim of advocates for transhumanism that we “upgrade” to an intelligence devoid of soul, but such a scenario would in effect make of people dumb sheep, as their merged consciousness is moulded to the designs of whoever has their hands on the button.
There are extant and serious ethical dilemmas with current nanotechnology and biotechnology research, and it seems that ceding control in any way to AI will not be any answer to humanity’s progress from here on — at least not if we wish to recognise ourselves as human. Rather, as hesitant and old school as it might seem, we need to maintain our autonomy from AI and its applications, not out of some anti-tech ideology, but simply on the back of the incredibly dark tech being unveiled and its only logical application.
Yes, AI needs morality, but its masters need it far more, and that’s likely a lost cause. Our best defence against the latent tyranny of an artificial intelligence in the hands of less intelligent human beings is to eradicate it from our lives as much as possible, limiting its applications to those which by public consensus constitute a healthy, worthwhile pursuit. EG