Here is the thing. What if, as long as people are able to debate and think about human values, stand up for their beliefs (as some who are fed up with the digital and data-driven privacy issues and the many people warning about the potential future impact of AI seem to do) and keep having different views, the future remains “open” and we can look at the benefits of artificial intelligence as it is today? For instance: to improve the customer experience by giving context and meaning to unstructured data, leading to actions, without even the need to bring in private data into the equation.
As humans we value our being human. And one of the ‘holy grails’, as it has been cherished for ages, is our “intelligence”. We emphasize it as a way to distinguish ourselves from other beings. We fear superintelligence as we see it as a risk to what we believe sets us apart. We fear it because we don’t know what it will or might be and become.
But we are more than intelligence and can’t define intelligence in any other way than we can grasp it as Tom Koulopoulos reminds us. We haven’t even started to understand the subconscious and pay less attention to it in an age of technology, science and rationality. But it exists, just as our intelligence exists as it is and as we know it.
Overlooking these aspects and not seeing how human changes in behaviour and definitions of value make it impossible to predict what artificial intelligence will become. It also makes it impossible to predict whether in the end we will even have the “collective will” to accept our intelligence is just what it is and to “allow’ something that is more that that: super intelligence as in not mimicking but beyond and maybe “above” human intelligence. It’s our belief that this fear and human dilemma contributes to an – as far as we remember – unseen collective effort of leading scientists and entrepreneurs to warn for and think about the dangers of AI. Maybe some are indeed led by fears regarding the unknown, the intelligence that might “beat” the human intelligence that makes us…human.
At the same time, however, while we try to protect what many believe defines our being human for the future, we risk not understanding the benefits and challenges of what is today. Whether it concerns the use of artificial intelligence, the use of personal data or anything else for that matter. And looking at the privacy issues and AI debates it’s clear that people are acting today, not in the future, debating about values and risks. Let these debates and the rich diversity of human values remain human.