Social media was aflood yesterday with confusion and intrigue when Grimes – a Canadian singer/songwriter and 3-year partner to technological entrepreneur Elon Musk – said that “AI is actually the fastest path to communism” and encouraged communists to embrace the technology if they want to see their political dreams come true.
Grimes (born Claire Elise Boucher) posted a short video to TikTok on Thursday, proposing that artificial intelligence could lead us to a utopia in which no one has to work and everyone lives in leisure:
“I have a proposition for the communists. So, typically most of the communists I know are not big fans of AI. But if you think about it, AI is actually the fastest path to communism. So, if implemented correctly, AI could actually theoretically solve for abundance. We could totally get to a situation where nobody has to work. Everybody is provided for with a comfortable state of being, comfortable living. AI could automate all the farming, weed out systematic corruption, thereby bringing us as close as possible to genuine equality. So basically, everything that everybody loves about communism, but without the collective farm. Because let’s be real, enforced farming is really not a vibe.”
Social media users responded with confusion and amusement. Some pointed out that both Grimes and Musk are beneficiaries of capitalism. Others criticized her understanding of the capabilities of artificial intelligence.
Mind Matters News posted an article from Dr. Robert J. Marks earlier this week, countering the predictions of AI Dystopians that killer robots will one day rule the world. Grimes’ comments represent the other end of that pendulum: the AI Utopians who believe humanity will be liberated by servant robots, thus bringing about worldwide peace.
“AI is a tool,” Dr. Marks reminded his readers, “like fire or electricity used to enhance human performance and improve lifestyles. Like fire and electricity, AI can be used for evil or can have overlooked consequences. But any unforeseen AI action will not be due to any resident intelligence or intent originating from within the AI.”
Similarly, Gary Smith wrote last week that artificial intelligence is better at augmenting, not replacing, human workers.
Computers are great and getting better, but computer algorithms are still designed to have the very narrow capabilities needed to perform well-defined chores, not the general intelligence needed to deal with unfamiliar situations by assessing what is happening, why it is happening, and what the consequences are of taking action. Humans can apply general knowledge to specific situations and use specific situations to improve their general knowledge. Computers today cannot—which is why we will not see a world without work anytime soon.Gary Smith, “A World Without Work? Don’t Hold Your Breath”
Despite her comment that the communists she knows are resistant to artificial intelligence, the Chinese Communist Party has been cozy with the widespread use of artificial intelligence since at least 2014:
In 2014, China unveiled a social credit system that Human Rights Watch called “chilling.” The new system rewards and punishes Chinese citizens for behavior deemed good or bad by the State. It is made possible by 200 million surveillance cameras and state-of-the-art facial recognition technology featuring a database of nearly every member of China’s 1.4 billion population.Caitlin Bassett, “Face Recognition: Is the U.S. Copying China’s Surveillance State?”
This vast network of artificial intelligence throughout China has made it possible for them to enforce social norms, criminal laws, and to keep minority populations (like the Uyghur Muslim population in Xinjiang) under harsh conditions and control.
Grimes clarified that she is not a communist in response to a comment left by a TikTok viewer:
“Haha I am not a communist! this iz a joke- but maybe the technocrats and communists could get along!”