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Musk: AI Will Hit Us Like An Asteroid

“It blows my mind that people can’t apply exponential growth to the capabilities of AI. You would’ve been called a *lunatic* a year ago if you said we’d have GPT-4 level AI right now. Now think another year. 5yrs? 10yrs? It’s going to hit them like an asteroid.”

“I saw it happening from well before GPT-1, which is why I tried to warn the public for years. The only one on one meeting I ever had with Obama as President I used not to promote Tesla or SpaceX, but to encourage AI regulation.”

“We need some kind of, like, regulatory authority or something overseeing A.I. development”. [We need to] “make sure it’s operating in the public interest.”

– Elon Musk as quoted on April 16 2023 Fortune Article

There are two main reasons to fear AI. One is the emergence of artificial sentience like HAL, the Terminator, and other similar AI monsters dreamed up by science fiction writers. The other is the use of AI as a superweapon by predatory human beings and organizations. Sentient AI might be debatable, but weaponized AI serving predators isn’t. It’s been happening for a while.

Musk is right to keep yelling at us about this. I am glad he and thousands of other tech giants are calling for a pause in development (I signed their petition). On the same day as the Musk quotes above, the CEO of Google Sundar Pichai was on “60 Minutes” warning society to brace for the impact of A.I. adding it will impact “every product of every company.” On the same day, an AI-generated fake Joe Rogan podcast with Donald Trump stunned social media. Richard Beauregard, a former actuary and business software expert, called the video “mind-blowingly dangerous” and predicted no information would “ever be believable again” in less than 10 years.

It’s important to note that most of us are more concerned with the predatory use of AI than we are with sentient AI. Though my main focus is on how to “educate” children to live in the coming AI world, for decades I’ve also been concerned with AI becoming the ultimate super-weapon of predators:

Our most fundamental business ethic assumes that businesses have the right to pursue their economic interests even to the extent of directing the thoughts and emotions of people with the clear intent of manipulating their purchasing behavior. Think about this. It’s considered business as usual, ‘nothing personal’ for businesses to manipulate our behaviors to serve their profit interests. We take it for granted. When this ethic becomes empowered by modern behavioral sciences and information technology and excused from responsibility by multi-national legal status, it’s frightening. We have seen what Madison Ave. can do with tobacco company ethics, Lucasfilm’s multimedia, Spielberg’s masterful attention direction, and the right ‘star attractions’. We have a semi-hypnotized society – hypnotized into accepting manipulation as normal, hypnotized into a lack of respect for their own learning and discernment. (2002-1)

In the middle of the 19th century we, as a nation, had a conversation about our ethics – we decided that people couldn’t ‘own’ people. We decided that human beings are entitled to freedom befitting their human beingness – that human beings can’t be property –can’t be slaves. 170 years later we must again take up this conversation. Today we face the question of can human beings be used as ‘assets’. Do we agree that a person or group of people, may, in the pursuit of their separate economic or political interests, engage in the predatory manipulation of the behavior of other human beings? (2002-2)

The important takeaway is that the threat is not AI. The threat is AI used to weaponize predation. If we don’t end the commonly accepted predatory ethics running rampant in our politics and capitalism, AI will be used to manipulate and enslave us (in ways many to most will never realize).  Again, I am not talking about some Ultron-like artificial being, I am talking about AI serving the same ethics that abuse us now in our commonplace politics and commerce.  Think of the next big iteration of Cambridge Analytica (the tech that powered Brexit and Trump). Think of the next big iteration of AI-individuated data vampires.

“We need some kind of, like, regulatory authority or something overseeing A.I. development”. [We need to] “make sure it’s operating in the public interest.”

Mr. Musk, regulating A.I. development without addressing the underlying predatory business and political ethics behind its use is impossible. 

The A.I. Most Endangering Us Today

What if the Slavers had Nukes?

AI: The Future of
Human Interface

AI Enhanced Predation

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