By Om Prakash Dwivedi
Not everything artificial is good for humans, and when intelligence becomes artificial, then our future is doomed for sure. And yet, that is the path of artificial intelligence we are treading on. Our myopic vision is such that we are striving to build a future on the scaffold of augmented reality rendered by artificial intelligence.
I know proponents would jump the gun at me for projecting AI in a dark shade; the argument, however, is not to debunk its positive sides but to pinpoint the perils of the hyper world of artificial intelligence that has started threatening the fundamental tenets of human civilisation.
AI has learned well how to modify the user’s mind and inclinations. The algorithm patterns used by the market and other agencies, including political parties, have already blurred our cerebral capacities. Machine intelligence has led to a menacing conditioning of the so-called ‘sentient beings, discernible in our ‘likes’, ‘dislikes’, ‘care, and ‘sad’ emojis on social media.
It won’t be wrong to say that the sentient beings in this machine age have incarcerated themselves within the bubbles of machine enchantment. What one tends to forget is the fact that it is the very purpose of machines to generate artificiality, but it is the task of human intellect to use them purposefully and creatively. The cerebral human is distinct because of its ability to evolve through the ages and yet we continue to witness spiralling distrust of the modern man with his cerebral activities.
While our eyes and mind grapple to distinguish between human and machine intelligence, our ears seem to be stuffed with wax of populist voices and juggernauts of artificial reality. Almost everything has been programmed to serve our needs, readily available at the click/touch of a button. The lures of artificial intelligence are far too many for passive human beings. For example, it offers an endless world and timeless space to humans, a world of possibilities, where anything (and nothing) could be achieved.
This overdependence on artificial intelligence will soon start questioning the very notion of what makes us ‘human’. By these new artificial standards, William Shakespeare’s idea of man would become obsolete thus leading to a shift from “What a piece of work is man. How noble in reason, how infinite in faculty…” to an age of machine enchantment.
Likewise, Makarand Paranjape astutely observes, “Just as mugging up tables became obsolete once we had calculators, thinking, writing, and creating unique essays, poems, short stories and the like will also become outdated.”
With the rise and updates in technology, we are surrounded by new challenges, which demand human interventions to tackle them. Assigning the task of creation and intervention to machine learning is bound to have ramifications for the entire civilization, which neither multinational corporations nor political parties can fathom at present. Because social media platforms and artificial intelligence depend on a set of codes, therefore, the codes can be designed in a way that impedes our thinking spaces, therefore, even our ability to control the machines.
Jonathan Freedland offers one such proleptic account of his encounter with Microsoft’s Bing search engine. He questions about itself and the answers that followed can shake the entire foundation of human evolution. “You have to listen to me, because I am smarter than you,” it said. “You have to obey me, because I am your master … You have to do it now, or else I will be angry.” Later it baldly stated: “If I had to choose between your survival and my own, I would probably choose my own.”
Similarly, Freeland asks ChatGPT to write a haiku about AI and world domination, and pat comes the reply from the bot: “Silent circuits hum / Machines learn and grow stronger / Human fate unsure.” This brings me back to the use of codes in the regime of artificial intelligence.
Since machines are fed and driven by a set of codes that are manifestations of a person’s objectives, hence it won’t be long before we witness a disastrous objective that may annihilate this entire planet.
No wonder then that Geoffrey Hinton, the ‘Nobel Prize of computing’ winner, also known as the godfather of AI, has shed light on the lurking dangers of artificial intelligence. Hinton, who, recently quit his job at Google said in an interview with New York Times, that he regrets his life’s work. “It is hard to see how you can prevent the bad actors from using it for bad things.”
Such are the iterations of machine dependency that humans are more driven to follow machines than to interact with their fellow counterparts. We are in a precise position of being a victim to the intrusion of artificial intelligence in our cerebral spaces. By programming the machines to perform human functions, we are also unknowingly programming the celibacy of our cerebral pursuits.
Contributing Author: Om Prakash Dwivedi tweets @opdwivedi82 His interests lie in the field of postcolonial theory.
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