Few times in history does a technology advancement bring together two persons from different backgrounds, intellectual pursuits, academic achievement and political standing.
Artificial intelligence has produced the enchantment.
It prompted the greatest geopolitical thinker of the 20th century Henry Kissinger and one of the most successful fiction writers of the 21st century, Dan Brown to issue a warning about the challenge posed to humanity by the development and exponential growth of artificial intelligence.
Left to develop without the establishment of an institutional framework that encapsulates this advancement in the safehouse of human reason, the world could meet its Armageddon.
Indeed in one of his more farsighted and brilliant essays for The Atlantic, Dr Henry Kissinger warns this reality show driven world about the lack of preparedness by human society from the intellectual and philosophical viewpoint to deal with the sudden and rapid rise of artificial intelligence.
On his apart, Dan Brown in his most recent novel “Origin” delineates the perils of an unfettered operational take over by AI.
Both warn their intellectual peers and followers about the need to start the discussion on how to tame the technology shrew before it takes over human beings in decision making.
To Kissinger “Artificial intelligence will in time bring extraordinary benefits to medical science, clean-energy provision, environmental issues, and many other areas. But precisely because AI makes judgments regarding an evolving, as-yet-undetermined future, uncertainty and ambiguity are inherent in its results.”
He then enumerates three areas of concern:
- AI achieves unintended results, as it misinterprets human instructions due to its lack of context. Dr Kissinger believes that, left to its own devices, AI could fall into small deviations that over time would cascade into a major catastrophe. He presents as example the fate of the chatbot called Tay;
- AI has the power to change human thought processes and values. Will humans understand that, or will they continue to believe that AI is simply a means to make life more comfortable and work more efficient? Who will make the judgement calls for AI. inquires Dr Kissinger;
- “AI may reach intended goals but be unable to explain the rationale for its conclusions. Through all human history, civilizations have created ways to explain the world around them — in the Middle Ages, religion; in the Enlightenment, reason; in the 19th century, history; in the 20th century, ideology. What will become of human consciousness if its own explanatory power is surpassed by AI, and societies are no longer able to interpret the world they inhabit in terms that are meaningful to them?”
Dr Kissinger ends his essay posing questions to the world leadership which include How is consciousness to be defined in a world of machines that reduce human experience to mathematical data, interpreted by their own memories?
Who is responsible for the actions of AI?
How should liability be determined for their mistakes?
Can a legal system designed by humans keep pace with activities produced by an AI capable of outthinking and potentially outmaneuvering them?
Dan Brown on his part takes us to his habitual 24 hour hecatomb ridden adventures. He submerges us in a tension plot where science and religion enter yet another historic tug-of-war. They are both trumped by AI which destroys its creator while providing early tickets to heaven to various religious leaders . In short Brown gives flesh and life to the Kissinger theorems.
After reading both works one falls prey to insomnia.
To be sure after dashing through the world institutional framework one fails to find one single institution armed with the intellectual abilities to create a framework to respond to Dr. Kissinger’s questions. No multilateral organization is up to the challenge. And fearfully enough, none of the presidential offices are either, except for one. That of Vladimir Putin!!!!!!!
Published by LAHT.com on Monday June 18th, 2018