Despite tech companies’ search to create an artificial “super-intelligence,” a recent poll suggests ordinary citizens want no such thing to be set loose into the world. Sigal Samuel, writing for Vox, talks about technological “solutionism, ” the idea that all the world’s problems, moral or otherwise, can be solved through mere technological progress. This ideology, he notes, extends to the current craze and hype surrounding AI. Sigal writes,
AGI (Artificial General Intelligence) enthusiasts promise that the coming superintelligence will bring radical improvements. It could develop everything from cures for diseases to better clean energy technologies. It could turbocharge productivity, leading to windfall profits that may alleviate global poverty. And getting to it first could help the US maintain an edge over China; in a logic reminiscent of a nuclear weapons race, it’s better for “us” to have it than “them,” the argument goes.
But Americans have learned a thing or two from the past decade in tech, and especially from the disastrous consequences of social media. They increasingly distrust tech executives and the idea that tech progress is positive by default. And they’re questioning whether the potential benefits of AGI justify the potential costs of developing it. After all, CEOs like Altman readily proclaim that AGI may well usher in mass unemployment, break the economic system, and change the entire world order. That’s if it doesn’t render us all extinct.-Sigal Samuel, AI that’s smarter than humans? Americans say a firm “no thank you.” (msn.com)
The problem with technological progress is that its development and power are relegated to Big Tech corporations who don’t always (or rarely) have the best interests of their customers in mind when crafting their products. Zuckerberg’s Meta is a case in point. Despite overwhelming evidence that the company knew Instagram was harming adolescents, particularly young girls, it didn’t change its business model. Why? The business model, which is click, scroll, repeat, works incredibly well.
While AI has its limits, and it’s been overhyped, there’s no doubt that it will render changes in the economy, workforce, and even how people worship or seek counsel for mental health. Perhaps, all things considered, we should pump the breaks a little bit.