Will AI Become Dangerous for Citizens?
What they don't tell you, can only imprison you.
The greatest danger of AI is the corporate centralization of AI being led by too few with too much power. This is even before real AI exists. The thing is that in 2021 AI is neither particularly artificial or particularly intelligent. But algorithms are ubiquitous and they are getting abused.
While the AI of xyz is changing the business landscape, the threat of AI is in how it magnifies wealth inequality, gives a few corporations unfair advantages over regular companies and corrupts the business landscape with an internet of unregulated algorithms. This is not meant to be an alarmist Op-Ed but to be objective in a generation that has one foot in the AI-attention matrix already.
The AI we should fear is already here, because corporate AI has already been centralized in a few American corporations and in a larger State-run explosion of BigData led by the Chinese State.
We should fear a world of unregulated algorithms, corporate interests and Chinese innovation that is data centric and ushering in an era not just of surveillance capitalism, but AI apartheid. Your children and grandchildren may be surprised to see what comes next in the name of AI.
In this war of AI it does not matter what the Pentagon does with AI or how big and powerful a few American corporate AI companies are. The AI we should fear is not about warnings of AGI, but about how the internet has warped how we perceive reality already. The AI we should fear is not about the ability of machines to reason like humans but about how automation will leave much of humanity behind.
The AI we should fear is about control, control of our data, of our attention and even of our freedom. AI’s detractors have been misleading us about what we should think about AI.
Nobody is regulating how corporations and nation states weaponize AI, and thus we are all members of a terrible experiment at scale. We should indeed be afraid – not of what AI might become – but of what it is now. Because today AI is in the hands of the few, and via automation and surveillance, it won’t be “democratized” any time soon in any real or significant sense.
AI will make the rich richer and automate much of humanity to a jobless welfare basic income state. Even focused on narrow tasks, AI is about to do this. According to a millstone survey, a majority of Americans think children will be financially worse off than their parents. If AI for good was a thing, that would not be occurring. AI won’t solve our problems for us, but magnify our problems, our corruption, our greed and our tyranny upon ourselves.
AI is being weaponized today and, along with climate change, I believe it’s one of the biggest existential threats to human order and global stability. And it’s breaking down some of our humanity.
Algorithms on apps have divided us to the extent that young people today feel more depressed, lonelier and more separate from each other and the societies in which they grew up. AI is powering new monitoring and control systems used by corporations for profit and by Governments to influence and limit the freedom of others.
We live in a world without any formal AI regulatory body, no AI ethics that’s enforced or even seriously discussed and no international body to make sure AI is not weaponized in a way that could endanger people. All around us we see evidence of narrow AI hurting people, from pandemic misinformation to the mental health impacts of attention draining apps. But what is being done about it?
AI today is deteriorating the efficacy of both democracies and capitalism. AI has created duopoly loopholes that can’t be regulated easily and a significant race to the bottom in antitrust considerations. AI is about to create automation in the next three decades of civilization which the world has never seen before.
Young people won’t be able to afford to have children after that is said and done unless they have white collar skills. This is already occurring for GenZ all around the world. This is the impact of narrow AI upon the labor market and the power of unregulated AI used by companies that have a monopoly on AI.
None of this is formally recognized or even admitted to. This is because AI is a cash cow for a select group of people. From the 1980s median wages of stagnated. Now, with the automation era beginning post pandemic, AI will not be used for good but will completely reorganize society around technological caste systems. Corporate ownership of AI and Chinese State control of AI will be so significant many societies will turn into dystopias of their former selves. AI will accelerate the trend of the middle class imploding and social unrest in many countries will increase, even as it has during the pandemic.
The AI we should fear is already here, because it’s changing the future of work as we wait for the pandemic to end. It’s accelerated trends that were already in place, trends that diminish our freedom, our opportunity, our participation in the very society that is supposed to protect and enable us. The California and American dream are long dead, and AI is coming for our future in ways we have yet to even fully anticipate.
What if the internet and its narrow AI has not made us better, and has not ennobled us? While a few technological oligarchs have arisen in capitalism, what do you suppose will happen in such a period of technological and business consolidation? What is the end-game of the world narrow AI is bringing us? It won’t be a utopia. The greatest danger is the AI for good movement is a lie, meant to deceive us from the actual reality.
The greatest danger to us is not what AI will become in the future, but how it is unregulated and used today. The greatest danger of AI is that we think it’s ennobling us when it is leading to our social and psychological downfall. If something ‘becomes ubiquitous’ that thing has the most potential to harm us.
Just as how the temperature is rising in the 21st century, nothing is so certain as how artificial intelligence is permeating every aspect of our lives. But somewhere along the way, we weren’t asking the right questions about what that impact could mean for the conditions of our humanity.
Like the impacts of rising temperatures on climate change, leading to droughts, floods, forest fires, water shortages and other problems, the impacts of narrow AI are exponentially increasing in the endangerment of our financial, monetary and governance systems in ways that aren’t being analyzed properly.
While this op-ed is not meant to be an alarmist essay on the dangers of artificial intelligence. As mobile devices addicted us to dopamine behavior modification, we have to wonder where are the laws that are supposed to protect us?
The impact of algorithms and narrow AI on our mental health, communities, inequality, media, freedom and financial health are far worse than we are being told. This is all occurring exponentially — before automation is occurring at scale simultaneously in all industries — in the 2025 to 2065 period, due to AI.