One of the most important forces in history is human stupidity. We should never underestimate human stupidity. Experiments are already under way to augment the human immune system with an inorganic, bionic system. They could discover the beginning of cancer, or some infectious disease, and fight against these dangers for your health. The system can monitor not just what goes wrong. It can monitor your moods, your emotions, your thoughts. That means an external system can get to know you much better than you know yourself.
You go to therapy for years to get in touch with your emotions, but this system, whether it belongs to Google or Amazon or the government, can monitor your emotions in ways that neither you nor your therapist can approach in any way.
Are you saying computer algorithms can break down personal data we may not even be aware of? Fear and anger and love, or any human emotion, are in the end just a biochemical process. In the same way you can diagnose flu, you can diagnose anger. What are you angry about? It can monitor your heart, your brain, your blood pressure. It can have a scale of anger and it can know you are now a 6.
Combining this with enormous amounts of data collected on you 24 hours a day can provide the best healthcare in history. It can also be the foundation of the worst dictatorial regimes in history. Previously in history the most important resource was land. Then it was machines. Now data is the most important resource. Politics is becoming the struggle to control data, and the future belongs to those who monopolize the data.
One of the biggest political questions of our era is, How do you regulate the ownership of data? It means an external system can know you better than you know yourself. It can predict your choices and decisions.
It can manipulate your emotions, and it can sell you anything, whether a product or a politician. So why not just give ourselves over to the computers? Let them make decisions for us. In some cases this would be a very good idea. It starts with things like trusting who is driving the car.
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At present, more than 1 million people worldwide are killed each year in traffic accidents. And almost all traffic accidents are because of humans making bad decisions. When you start giving algorithms the authority to decide what to study, where to live, who to marry, who to vote for. In many cases people will follow the recommendations because they realize from experience the algorithms make better choices. They just have to be better, on average, than human beings.
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This is not a future scenario. Already we give algorithms authority to decide which movies to see and which books to buy. But the more you trust the algorithm, the more you lose the ability to make decisions yourself. After a couple of years of following the recommendations of Google Maps, you no longer have a gut instinct of where to go. You no longer know your city. So even though theoretically you still have authority, in practice this authority has been shifting to the algorithm.
What happens to our notion of humanity if Hamlet just takes out his cellphone and asks Siri what to do? The fear we usually hear about artificial intelligence is it will allow the robots to take over.
They will gain autonomy and become our masters. We will shift authority to them. In most science-fiction movies, the robots rebuild themselves and try to kill the humans.
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And the humans must fight back and destroy the robots. This is a very comforting myth. It tells humans that nobody can do a better job than you. If you rely on the robots, it will end in disaster. The far more frightening scenario is that the robots will make better decisions than us. Life is a road with many intersections, and every couple of days or months or years, you need to make decisions.
This is what our ethical systems are based on. This is to some degree what religion is based on. You make good decisions, you go to heaven. You make bad decisions, you go to hell. And this is everything from Shakespeare plays to silly Hollywood comedies. Whom should they marry? Should I go to war or make peace? What happens to our notion of humanity if Hamlet just takes out his smartphone and asks Siri what to do? The dominant political ideology, liberal democracy, sure seems under threat right now.
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Even if some of us are still committed to the ideology of liberal democracy, it has lost its power of explanation. In the s and s, it made some forceful prophecies about where we are heading. Liberal democracy and free-market capitalism are going to spread around the world and all the countries will become like the United States or Denmark. But now the liberal story no longer has a clear vision for the future. Nobody has a clear vision for the future.
Nobody on either the right or the left has any meaningful vision for how humankind and the world will look in Even those who believe in the liberal story as an ethical system can no longer pretend its prophecies are true.
As more autocratic leaders take control, a lot of democratic countries are struggling. But it should be emphasized that the world in the last 30 years, under the hegemony of liberal democracy and liberalism, has been in the best shape ever, at least for human beings.
internationalremovalsguide.com/1383-phone-track-tool.php The world was never so prosperous and peaceful as in the last 30 years. So to a large extent the liberal system has delivered. But people are losing faith in it. And one of the main reasons is that the rise of the new technologies mean that more people are being left behind. The liberal story is based on the ideal and the notion of free will, that the free will of individual humans is the ultimate source of authority in the world. But science is now telling us there is no such thing as free will. A lot of scientists and philosophers are not willing to give up that idea of free will.
As private individuals, maybe. We know only two types of processes in nature. We know of deterministic processes and random processes. And the combination of the two gives us probabilistic processes. People certainly have a will. People certainly have desires. People certainly make choices all the time. But we are not free to choose our desires.
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