As we stand at the precipice of a technological revolution, the only issue that truly deserves our attention is AI and its implications for society. This is not a call for alarmism or doom-mongering, but a simple recognition of the fact that AI is set to change the world in profound ways, and we need to be prepared.
At present, however, we seem to be caught up in a whirlwind of distractions. The media and politicians are focused on issues that, while important in their own right, pale in comparison to the seismic shift that AI is likely to bring about. From debates over drag queens, celebrity gossip, cherry picked tragedies, border tensions, and the latest Twitter controversy, we are being fed a constant diet of news that does little to prepare us for the future that is rapidly bearing down upon us. We get it, you hate Trump. Or you hate woke cartoons. Everything will be fine as long as the pendulum swings in your preferred direction and the only ways for that to happen is to post your pithy quip on social media or get some person you’ve never met elected, fired, or imprisoned.
Meanwhile, the very nature of our reality is transforming. This is bigger than the introduction of smart phones or even the internet. This could become bigger than the transition from hunter-gatherer to agrarian societies. Everything up until now was just research and development.
Soon most jobs will either be obsolete or fundamentally reimagined.
Everyone will be able to generate their ideal content and tools with little time or effort. What does that do to society? What happens when children can create games and cartoons tailored for them in minutes? What does that do to their already deteriorating attention spans and addiction to instant gratification?
What happens when everyone can generate an infinite supply of high resolution VR porn that fulfills their exact kinks? What does that do to mental health and relationships particularly amongst young adults?
What happens to infrastructure when suddenly we don’t need the majority of people commuting back and forth to work? What does commerce look like when resource procurement, industrial engineering and shipping get streamlined and accelerated to the nth degree?
What happens when legal documents take minutes to produce? What does this do to an already overly litigious society? What does this mean for our laws and regulations when the cartoonishly lengthy bills routinely passed by congress full of pork and regulations grow exponentially?
What happens when we combine AI with Neurolink and similar technology? Our ability to process the world around us will be elevated and accelerated in ways we can’t imagine. This will also transform the way we interface with AI making the current text and GUI iterations seem cute and archaic.
What happens when data collection companies leverage this tech? Advertising will become much more granular and emotionally exploitative. What happens when governments then leverage the data for dystopian levels of surveillance and control?
What does geopolitics become when human representatives are replaced by AI? Does this lead to more war and the eventual destruction of humanity? Or does it enable a degree of cooperation and trade that would be impossible otherwise?
What happens when AI can conduct virtual experiments leading to breakthroughs in science, medicine and technology? What does a world unrestrained by disease, Moore’s Law and current limitations on energy efficiency look like?
What happens if recent efforts to use AI to communicate with animals succeeds? Can interfaces eventually allow the animals themselves to utilize AI in ways wholly specialized to their needs and interests? What happens when the collective intelligence of the planet recursively processes and adapts itself at an exponential rate? What does this mean for the collective wisdom of the past that was shaped by comparatively primitive understandings of everything? Do we blindly adhere to tradition or blindly follow change driven by new technologies and methodologies that could prove profoundly more flawed in the long run?
Make no mistake, we are living through a moment of historic significance and many of these are becoming a reality. The emergence of AI is transforming every facet of our lives, and we need to start thinking about how we can best use this technology to improve our world. This requires us to step back from the noise and distractions that are all around us, and to focus our attention on the real issues at hand.
One of the biggest challenges we face is avoiding the great dangers associated with AI. As we have seen in recent years, AI can be used to spread disinformation, automate bias, and even facilitate the creation of autonomous weapons. These are serious issues that we need to address head-on, and we cannot afford to be complacent.
At the same time, we need to start thinking about what our priorities as a species are in this new world. With the majority of tasks able to be done more efficiently and quickly by machines, we need to ask ourselves what we want our society to look like. What kind of work do we want to do? How do we want to spend our time? What values do we want to prioritize?
These are tough questions, but we need to start asking them now. Otherwise, we risk sleepwalking into a future that is defined by the narrow interests of a small group of technocrats, rather than by the needs and desires of the broader society.
So what can we do to prepare ourselves for the AI future? There are a few things that come to mind. First, we need to start educating ourselves about AI and its implications. This means getting past the hype and really digging into the technology itself. It also means paying attention to the social, ethical, and political implications of AI, and engaging in informed discussions about these issues.
Second, we need to start thinking about how we can use AI for the greater good. This means not just focusing on the bottom line, but also on the broader social and environmental impacts of our technological choices.
Finally, we need to start thinking creatively about how we can use AI to create a better world. This means looking beyond the narrow applications of AI that are currently being developed, and imagining new possibilities that can help us achieve our goals as a society. It means breaking free from the constraints of our current thinking, and embracing the limitless potential of this powerful technology.
In the end, the only issue that truly matters right now is AI and its implications for society. We cannot afford to be distracted by the noise and the hype. We need to focus our attention on the real issues, and start working together to create a better future for ourselves and for generations to come.