In this March 15, 2020 article for Wired, American computer scientist, technologist, and futurist Jaron Lanier and economist and researcher E. Glen Weyl weighs in on the race to create a superhuman intelligence through artificial intelligence (AI).
They begin by discussing what they call the “AI way of thinking” which they defined as “an understanding of AI focused on independence from – rather than interdependence with – humans”. They say that this way of thinking has increasingly hidden the very people who are present in the system – those who continue to improve the algorithm, but more especially, those whose data are being fed into the system. They said, “The very idea of AI might create a diversion that makes it easier for a small group of technologists and investors to claim all rewards from a widely distributed effort”.
They insist that AI is not an algorithm, but rather a political and social ideology that is focused on creating technologies that would replace humans. In this sense, they add, it has similarities to other ideologies such as technocracy and centrally-planned governments, the “desirable or inevitable…replacement of most human judgment/agency with systems created by a small technical elite”.
The reason slams Western companies for subscribing to this ideology and says that it could possibly be due to the degrading economic, political, and societal structures. They believe it is time to reimagine the future into something that enables more citizens to participate and shape the collective.
Editor’s Note: When only the interests of the elites are considered in the creation of technology, they end up harming the interests and well-being of regular citizens. We have seen this happening over and over.
For example, in the case of education, whereas the rest of the world is being pushed towards digitalized education, the children of the elites in Silicon Valley are enrolled in a school where the use of technology is suspended until children are older.
Also, consider this: early in 2018, the Harvard Business Review already acknowledged that imagination, creativity, and strategy are the future of work, but why are curriculums in schools from basic to higher education not enhancing these skills? To date, the majority of schools in developing nations are still utilizing the Banking Approach, which ultimately ensures that the citizens of these countries remain in the peripheries. Can you imagine an enlightened citizenry accepting the AI way of thinking?
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