Elon wrote a big check to the Future of Life Institute to make sure AI keeps working for us, and doesn’t take over the world. Good. We should be working hard to make sure that computers don’t take over the world and turn us all into human batteries, etc.
But, I am not really sitting around fretting about computers that act more human. I am more concerned about the possibility that the human race is slowly losing our empathy. That our brains are being retrained to respond to digital stimulants that force us to rely on less and less direct human interaction. That we’ll have an entire generation who are fine-tuned algorithms for consumption and reaction. Predictable inputs, predictable outputs.
Joichi Ito recently touched on all this:
“The paradox is that at the same time we’ve developed machines that behave more and more like humans, we’ve developed educational systems that push children to think like computers and behave like robots. It turns out that for our society to scale and grow at the speed we now require, we need reliable, obedient, hardworking, physical and computational units. So we spend years converting sloppy, emotional, random, disobedient human beings into meat-based versions of robots. Luckily, mechanical and digital robots and computers will soon help reduce if not eliminate the need for people taught to behave like them.”
We need our humanity.