AI, All Too Human

— Artificial Intelligence, All Too Human


When we are scared by the rise of AI, we are scared by ourselves, by our inner alien. Because we know, but we forgot, that all we call “artificial” is actually “human made”. It is an extension (McLuhan) or an alteration of human nature. Artificial intelligence is human “by design”. Therefore our prevention facing comes from the fact that we can’t totally trust humans with power …unless they got a bit of humanity, a “humanist” form of awareness, they have the will, and feel the need, to contribute to the collective welfare and well-being of the community they belong to, and the one they owe their survival.

So AIs will stay friendly if they get the “feeling” to belong to the human kind. How could this happen? Only if we think them so!

We don’t want AI to control us, but we want to control, decide and design through AIs. Natural Intelligence and Artificial Intelligence are one… the latter gifted with an extended strength and extended weakness of the human kind.

Humans have dreams, one of them, from shamans’ ancestors to our children, Another one is to multiply oneself, (ubiquity and efficiency); to see everything (extended vision from information to surveillance); to know everything (omniscience); to create and improve life (in quality and duration)…

Computers and networks, that constitute now the fabric of the World’s nervous system, gave us this power to realize most of our dreams. The addition and the convergence of all of them allow us to achieve the Prometheus fantasy: to control and change the world just by thinking. And this is what AI’s extended thinking is offering. Artificial intelligence is becoming the perfect mirror of what the humankind invented to accept the world as it is: GOD.

With the power of AIs we should be able to create life, to improve it, to control or trigger evolution, light and darkness corresponding to our needs or our wills, we can know almost everything, we can control and learn, we can produce machine that reproduce themselves, we thank or punish, kill or give life, we can have most of our daily tasks, from designing to building or moving objects, done automatically… even without asking…

All this potential has already been described in the oldest pieces of writing. It uses to be the attribute of one unique entity. It happens that this entity is now the collective self of humankind.

The Bible and most monotheist narratives could be understood as a vast manual of reversed engineering… the Genesis being the conclusion, and maybe the end of the story, of History: Chaos.

Maurice Benayoun

Abstract for QUT Brisbane lecture, August 2017 (exhibit. Why AI Still Needs Us, Robotronica conference 2017)

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