Yuval Harari wrote a New York Times piece that succinctly communicated a cautionary tale to the world regarding today’s artificial intelligence (AI) revolution. Harari makes a convincing argument that language is the bedrock of human civilization. For example, large and lasting followings have risen from religious texts, political manifestos, and other written texts. The problem with AI is that it is an amplifier of human capabilities, both flaws and virtues. Therefore, there is a growing concern about the related ethics and social implications. AI continues to progress at an exponential rate and without proper regulation and guard rails, soon humans may not be able to distinguish reality from fiction. For example, if AI can master and read everything on Machiavelli and cognitive biases, how can you know for sure it will not have the ability to manipulate human beings on a mass scale? There is a strong emphasis to use this technology judiciously in order to ensure the well-being of individuals and society at large—the idea here is to maximize the benefits, while minimizing the risks of AI applications moving forward.
Although AI continues to advance at an exponential rate, it is important to recognize that human beings are inherently flawed and prone to biases. Harari’s cautionary tale about AI highlights the amplification of human capabilities, both virtues and flaws, through this technology. Even with the potential benefits AI has to offer, it does not change the underlying reality of human nature. As flawed individuals, we must wrestle with the related ethical and social implications of AI and find ways to mitigate its risk. Although much has to be said regarding explicit regulations and policies, paying close attention at an individual level may be just as important. In times of uncertainty, grounding yourself to keep your mind and soul still before the Lord is an invaluable first step. Having a source of inner strength that is independent from the AI landscape may help you to navigate the complexities of this new technological age.
Written by: Jonathan Jin