In 2017, world chess champion Garry Kasparov wrote this essay for the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). Being one of the first people to have been affected by roboticization of industries, Kasparov has moved on from becoming the greatest chess player of all time to an advocate of human rights protection and responsible robotics. In this article, he talks about the need for countries to focus on take on the responsibility of enhancing the collective capacity of its citizens.
He stresses that robots are but mere human creations, and as such, simply building them does not ensure the improvement of human life. Instead, robots magnify human nature – better technology empower human civilization for better or for worse, depending on how we use them.
Kasparov believes that in the same way that the industrial revolution has led to chaos before progress, the release of smarter technology in the mainstream will lead to a renewal of our social systems. But first, it will lead to disorder in the society. Governments should be able to anticipate the confusion that is bound to happen, and as early as now, must create solutions to address possible issues that may arise out of the use of new technologies such as AI and robots.
Kasparov says that the real challenge of modern society is the integration of new technologies to our daily life. The answer we must questions is this: what aspects of society is best relegated to AI, and what jobs and skills can never be done by a machine?
IMPLICATIONS FOR AI
Garry Kasparov’s pronouncements in this article is no longer new [see the article Joseph Stiglitz: AI Can Lead To A More Divided Society which talks about the social division that may result with the use of AI].
What makes this article unique is that Kasparov himself has experienced what it means to be replaced by AI. After all, who would forget Kasparov’s iconic image (taken after the historic game with Deep Blue in May 1997, where Kasparov lost to the AI), hands in the air and the look of dejection on his face. He knows that it is impossible for humans to compete with machines.
But more than 20 years after his historic defeat, Kasparov is out and about again, but unlike Elon Musk and the late Stephen Hawking [who believed that AI could lead to the extinction of human kind, read Elon Musk’s Billion Dollar Crusade To Stop The AI Apocalypse for more info on this], he believes in the benefits of AI.
We must realize however, that using AI to benefit humanity is not as simple as having the right intention. Governments and other institutions must prepare our societies for the arrival of AI. This means providing consumers with a deeper understanding of how AI works, and why it acts the way it does. In short, governments must take an active role at providing the direction for AI development, and it must provide the necessary intervention so that its citizens will be able to discover what their real gifts and talents are.
Governments must also realize that before humanity benefits from AI and other new technologies, it will tear the very fabric that binds societies together. It will cause hunger, deaths, and chaos, perhaps in the same magnitude as that of the Industrial revolution. Are we willing to repeat history? Needless to say, our governments have not created social safety nets to prevent the total collapse of human civilization. So far, there is no regulation for AI development, and no global alliances among country leaders to discuss the impact of generalized AI (AGI). If we continue on this same path, we can be sure that history will repeat itself.
Kasparov makes an important point towards the end of his article: what are the jobs and skills that can never be done by a machine? Finding the answer to this question requires a deeper understanding of who we are as human beings and what our purpose is in this lifetime.
Materialistic science would have us believe that we are alive due to random chance, that life is composed only of elementary particles bunched together. This belief has justified the push towards accumulation of resources (the more you have, the better your life will be), and ultimately, the proliferation of competition as a societal norm. This same belief has also led us to think that the longer we are alive, the more time we have to improve our lives.
But ask any child today: what is the purpose of life? Rarely will you get an answer that speaks merely of survival. Instead, the most common answers you will get will relate to experiences beyond the self – of wanting to experience the gifts of nature, of wanting to experience joy. From an early age, we have the intuitive understanding of the part of ourselves that are beyond the physical [read about How Transpersonal Psychology Is Changing Psychiatryto discover what we know about the mystical part of being human].
For us to create better humans, we must acknowledge the reality that there is a huge part of being human that is invisible to the eye. AI can be a good force for society because it can take on tasks that take away time and resources needed by humans to perform their real work on earth. Our current science supports this idea, we have all the knowledge we need to move forward. Science is also showing us that we have the capacity to create a completely new society, if only we are willing to let go of our old belief systems that no longer serve us.