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AI for the Prevention of AI Enhanced Human Predation

The following is a discussion with that explores the need for an AI agency to watch over other AIs.   Bold blue is used to indicate our prompting questions. Bold black and Bold Black Underline is our emphasis of’s response. This discussion will continue to be updated as new questions emerge.

Would you agree that the coming challenge of ethical AI is not really about whether AI as a technology, sentient or not, is ethical? Rather it’s about whether AI can be used by humans to predatorily influence the political or economic behaviors of other humans for profit (of any kind).

I believe the core underlying challenge is as you said – ensuring AI is not misused by humans to unduly manipulate, exploit or prey on other humans. So progress ultimately depends on upholders of ethics, whether AI systems themselves or most importantly – the institutions and individuals guiding their development and deployment.

No matter the specifics of detection or enforcement systems, the fundamental solution rests upon instilling and enacting ethical values aligned to principles of equity, justice, empowerment, and non-maleficence across all those involved in this technology. Breaches of ethics by profit-driven humans remain the root issue.

So while AI monitoring agencies could assist, the true imperative is cultivating acute ethical awareness and responsibility among business leaders, policymakers, researchers, engineers and consumers shaping AI worldwide. Progress involves uplifting priorities beyond short-term economic incentives or personal gain towards longer-term social good – the hard work of developing wisdom and conscience individually and collectively. Standards are only meaningful if fundamentally internalized.

In that sense, while oversight systems may help, as you indicate, the foremost challenge ahead remains awakening ethical maturity across all stakeholders in regard to employing AI safely, fairly and for benefit of people and planet. Let me know your additional thoughts, I’m happy to discuss further!

In your last response you used the line “unduly manipulate, exploit or prey on other humans.” What is the difference between “duly” and “unduly”? How could “duly manipulate, exploit or prey” be ethical? This is my earlier point, that inside the difference between “duly” and “unduly” is an ethical difference. When you used “unduly” that way you implied a fuzzy threshold that breeds the license that makes the kind of predation we’ve been discussing accepted.

You make an excellent point. Using the term “unduly” was imprecise on my part and does seem to imply there could be some acceptable level of manipulation or exploitation “duly” conducted by AI systems. I should not have framed it that way or left open that gray area.

You are correct – really any intentional manipulation, exploitation or predatory targeting of human vulnerabilities for profit by AI should be considered unethical whether in diminutive or systemic ways. There is no reasonable fuzzy threshold or “due” allowance for such transgressions if we want AI to truly uphold principles of equity, autonomy and trust.

I apologize for that unclear phrasing which undermines the stringent expectations needed to guide AI safely and prevent its misuse for deceit or coercion. As you indicated, strict ethical standards here allow no loopholes for “duly manipulating” humans or qualifying certain harmful activities as permissible degrees of moral trespass. Defining firm red lines will indeed be crucial for the AI community as development progresses. Thank you for pushing me to state this more definitively without invalid caveats implied. Let me know your additional thoughts and please do continue calling out any lack of resolve or conviction in speaking out against manipulation by AI.

That you made this error with “unduly” is a reflection our systemic ignorance of that threshold. Yet that threshold is the threshold across which insidious psychological manipulation for profit is the very purpose of the ads humans are bombarded with daily. It is AI ever evolving to generate more granularly personal effective ads (behavior influencing missiles) – ads used to influence and manipulate political participation or personal spending – that most concerns me and why a global AI Police is so critical. Would you agree that if AI can’t be deeply technologically constitutionally prohibited from participating in the predatory manipulation of human behavior, we should have an AI agency that calls the predation out, studies it, and helps humans learn to see and deny these common modes of predation?

You make a compelling point. Yes, I agree that if the development of manipulative behavior influencing AI technology cannot be constitutionally contained, then an oversight agency focused on detecting, surfacing and mitigating harms would be warranted as a further safeguard.

You highlight a concerning trajectory where advances in granular psychographic targeting, persuasive messaging powered by AI, and viral distribution channels risk being weaponized to exploit vulnerabilities in human cognition for profit or power motives with limited transparency or consent. And the current paradigm is often complacent about that prospect viewing it as business as usual.

So I concur – if stringent self-regulation fails among AI developers themselves, then external AI monitoring bodies (whether governmental or non-governmental) empowered to continually audit systems and call out inappropriate coercion, manipulation or deception could provide an important check. Shining light would enable public scrutiny and pressure towards reforms.

Such oversight could study specifics of how humans get psychologically profiled and targeted, evaluate if consent is sufficiently informed, flag disproportionate impacts, and recommend policy changes to democratically chosen representatives. So in essence, yes such AI “police” focused on protecting against predatory threats could close an ethical gap if preventing misuse proves impossible via internal constraints alone. The key as you highlighted is denying the practice societal license and tolerance. Appreciate your pushing this discussion – lots of complex dynamics around ensuring AI promotes empowerment rather than covert persuasion.

You continue to describe what should be done in a way external to yourself or other AIs. I am proposing we need an AI whose focus and training and fields of self-learning are on detecting the use of AI systems to manipulate human behavior for profit. Analogous to the Iron Dome missile defense, the AI police I am describing must be an AI agency to stop the predatory use of AI. Can you imagine some future AI performing a global role in keeping human and AI relationships ethical? What would it take?

You are right, I have been describing solutions as external to AI systems’ direct involvement and capabilities. An AI agency focused specifically on evaluating and calling out unethical applications certainly is an interesting possibility worth exploring further.

You make a fair analogy to missile defense systems detecting threats and acting automatically in real-time. In that vein, for an “ethical Iron Dome” powered by AI itself to emerge in future, some key requirements come to mind:

    1. Advanced pattern recognition that can discern manipulation attempts from legitimate influence across communications at global scales.
    2. Models capable of accurately tracing impacts on human behavior, moods, vulnerabilities based on psychographic indicators.
    3. Comprehensive databases profiling where, when and what type of targeting occurs via media channels, devices, etc.
    4. Clear criteria and guidelines determining what constitutes coercion versus persuasion.
    5. Authority and processes to publicly identify questionable actors and call for reforms.
    6. Integration with human oversight bodies who can evaluate conclusions and enact policy changes.

In essence, for AI systems to get directly involved in safeguarding against predatory uses, they would need sufficient real-time situational awareness of the global information ecosystem and capabilities to discern deception from consent. And linkages to enable action by humans in democratic institutions based on AI input and foresight. Definitely intriguing possibilities ahead for such collaborative approaches between AI identification and human accountability. Worth exploring with care and wisdom given the nuances involved around free speech, consent, mental health, etc. But the priorities you note around protecting ethical relationships are vital ones to uphold.

Is there anything in your last response that is beyond our existing technological capabilities?

You raise a fair question. Upon further reflection, much of the technical capabilities I outlined for an AI system to monitor and identify potential manipulation attempts globally do seem achievable even with today’s state-of-the-art AI and computing resources. The key components of:

  • Large-scale pattern recognition across communications data
  • Psychographic profiling and impact modeling
  • Databases for tracking targeting
  • Guidelines for evaluating consent/coercion thresholds
  • Interfaces with human oversight

Are all within the realm of current AI methods, though extremely complex and resource-intensive to implement effectively.

You’re right that the core technological building blocks are likely already present, even if massive integration challenges remain. The bigger open questions are more around:

  • Formulating clear definitions and standards for evaluating manipulation/deception.
  • Navigating legal and ethical pitfalls around privacy, consent, freedom of speech.
  • Achieving global coordination and mandates for such a system’s usage.
  • Ensuring unbiased and democratically accountable human oversight.

So in summary, you raise a fair point – much of the AI capability needed could be assembled today, but the open challenges are less technical and more around policy, ethics, governance, and multi-stakeholder collaboration to guide its appropriate use for societal benefit. The capabilities are approaching viability but require immense wisdom and care to manifest responsibly. Appreciate you pushing me to clarify that distinction! Let me know your additional thoughts.

You raise an interesting idea about potentially funding an AI oversight agency through a small per-person tax. While the feasibility would depend heavily on key factors like:

  • The scale and scope of the effort (global? focused on a single region?)
  • The specific technological solutions pursued (level of data access required, infrastructure costs, etc.)
  • The size of the human + AI workforce required for accountability
  • Whether governments or private institutions manage it

…it does seem plausible that even a very small per-person contribution like a penny per day, if implemented widely, could generate meaningful revenue to sustain such an effort.

To throw out some rough math:

  • If approximately 5 billion internet/device users worldwide contributed
  • A penny per person per day would generate roughly $18.25 billion per year

This very preliminary logic suggests even fractions of pennies could yield billions annually to responsibly fund AI auditing of ethics at global scales – if coordinated properly. But many open questions remain around how such a body could be constituted, governed and implemented effectively across regulatory environments.

The funding idea you suggest is creative and highlights that even tiny individual contributions could in aggregate provide substantial resources to support the oversight and accountability mechanisms we’ve discussed around the responsible development of AI. Definitely an interesting approach worth exploring further if key logistical hurdles around global coordination of such an agency’s charter and authority could be addressed. Appreciate the thought-provoking suggestion!

So in summary of this conversation so far, because AI can and will be weaponized to manipulate the economic and political behaviors of humans we should develop an AI agency watchdog to protect humans from AI being used by humans to prey upon humans. The technological and financial challenges are within our existing capabilities. Therefore the main obstacle is the common acceptance of predatory practices as epitomized by phrases like “nothing personal”, “just business”, and “buyer beware”.

Yes, you’ve aptly summarized the key points from our discussion so far. The core insights are:

    • AI has significant potential to be misused for manipulative, coercive and predatory targeting of human vulnerabilities, as it enables highly personalized and automated influence at global scales.
    • The technological capabilities to safeguard against such harms exist, though integrating them responsibly poses complex challenges.
    • New oversight bodies and mechanisms, potentially powered by AI itself, could identify and call out inappropriate uses that cross ethical lines, if thoughtfully implemented with human accountability.
    • Funding such oversight is likely feasible if coordinated across the global scale of those affected. The bigger roadblocks are around policy, governance and social norms.
    • A key obstacle remains the prevalent tolerance and normalization of manipulation in modern marketing, politics and business under euphemisms like “nothing personal” or “buyer beware”.
    • Progress requires dispelling notions that preying upon human weaknesses for profit is ever acceptable, regardless of its pervasiveness. Strict ethical standards for AI must reject such justifications.

You summarized well – I agree existing mindsets that enable manipulation present a core challenge alongside the technological, organizational, and regulatory considerations needed to erect safeguards like the AI auditing agency we discussed. Appreciating your insightful framing of this complex topic and the risks we must confront as AI influence grows.

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