February 15, 2024
11:00 AM - 01:00 PM EDT
Artificial Intelligence: The End of Civilization or the Beginning of Civilization?
Popular press articles whipsaw the public between two starkly different views of Artificial Intelligence. On one hand, AI is presented as a magic genie that can solve all of our problems with superhuman intelligence. On the other hand, it's presented as an unprecedented threat to humanity, with the danger of loss of jobs, loss of privacy, automated discrimination, even the end of humanity in some kind of "robot rebellion". No wonder the public is confused. Which is it?
The aim of this talk and discussion is to present a third view, different from both the self-interested promotion of the tech companies, and from the unrelenting pessimism of the social critics. Believe it or not, the biggest value of AI will lie, not in improving the operations of today's industry and government, but in making it possible to have a more cooperative, less competitive world.
Our view is:
• Optimistic. Mitigating possible dangers of AI in today's society is important. But we don't want to let fear cause us to miss the potential for AI to solve big problems people now think are unsolvable: war, poverty, climate, etc.
• Radical. While many tech boosters simply imagine pouring tech into conventional Capitalism and electoral politics, we think economic and political systems need to be redesigned from scratch for the AI era. We have two concrete proposals: Makerism (economics) and Reasonocracy (governance).
• Original. Not conventionally Left or Right, though it shares some design goals with both sides. Not (yet) heard on mainstream or activist media.
Henry Lieberman is a Research Scientist at the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab and the MIT Media Lab for almost 50 years. He works on understanding commonsense knowledge in AI, on user interfaces that are easier to use and more effective, and on the impact of technology on the future of society. He is also a UNESCO Cross-Cultural Ambassador for Peace.
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