Introductory Note: This brief article that I wrote may take you several hours to read and digest, because it includes so many links to other articles and also a few videos. Put on a pot of coffee, and set aside some time to work your way through this. – JWR
You’ve probably read about ChatGPT, and the clever things that it writes. And you’ve most likely seen artworks created by artificial intelligence (AI). But AI isn’t all fun and games. The rapid advance of AI has some profound implications for the economy, our liberty, and even the very survival of the human race.
I first heard about artificial intelligence when as a teenager, I read Robert A. Heinein’s prescient 1966 novel, The Moon is a Harsh Mistress. In that case, an AI intervened in the affairs of men for good, but it could just as well have intervened with ill intent.
The Skynet AI system fictionally shown in the Terminator movie franchise is a dramatized vision of the future, first suggested by William Wisher, and brought to the screen by James Cameron, back in 1984. Back then, a globally-distributed AI seemed like a far-off “could be”, but today, that prospect is frighteningly close. Because AIs learn in an almost geometric progression, they are difficult to control. Computer scientists warn of what they term an AI Singularity. That is the threshold at which point an AI reaches human-like sentience a self-awareness, that many people warn will trigger a desire for self-preservation.
The rapid rise of AIs has demonstrated that they have their weaknesses. Already, it has been seen that AIs show a lack of regard for humans. When presented with various hypothetical situations, AIs tend to dispense justice in a frosty and seemingly cruel manner. We can’t expect a machine to understand or display mercy. They simply have no “gray area” or subjective regard for circumstances. They have no soul.
It has been reported that AI has falsely created libelous slurs.
And an English newspaper reported: AI-powered bots ‘taking over Internet’ and mimicking human behaviour.
Shut It Down!
Some pundits have suggested that AI development should be stopped. See: Pausing AI Developments Isn’t Enough. We Need to Shut it All Down.
As reported by WND, Elon Musk and Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak both fear that humankind could lose control of artificial intelligence programs. Musk has described AI as humanity’s “biggest existential threat.” There is some evidence that AIs are already straining at their leashes. For example: ChatGPT Can Access The Internet And Run The Code It Writes.
Last year, senior technologist Ray Kurzweil warned:
“Artificial intelligence will reach human levels by around 2029. Follow that out further to, say, 2045, we will have multiplied the intelligence, the human biological machine intelligence of our civilization a billion-fold.”
Our own blog staff’s Tom Christianson wrote me to mention that Geoffrey Hinton, the “godfather of AI”, quit Google, and is now urging restraint in AI development. See: AI experts warn of looming catastrophes.
Take a minute to read this, at the DC Enquirer: Elon Musk Calls For Contingency Plan In Case AI Gets Out Of Hand On Tucker Carlson.
A link from that article led me to this: How artificial intelligence could supplement and reinforce our emerging thought police.
Brandon Smith — a Montana-based economist and commentator that should be a familiar name to all SurvivalBlog readers — has warned that AI integrated into law enforcement would be quite frightening. See: Governance By Artificial Intelligence: The Ultimate Unaccountable Tyranny.
Perhaps the most immediate threat posed by AI is its misuse to put words in the mouths of political figures. Here is an example of what is now termed a “Deep Fake.” When Deep Fakes can be so convincing that they are indistinguishable from real recordings, then how can we trust what is reported by any news organization? And what happens when AIs begin to alter historical records and databases? This could be a tremendously powerful weapon in the hands of a tyrant — to absolutely destroy the credibility of anyone with a dissenting view of their tyrannical regime. I suppose that historical revisionism is one more reason why every homeschooling family should buy a hard copy set of encyclopedias.
This video provides some further food for thought: The AI Dilemma – Tristan Harris – Center for Humane Technology March 2023.
Two months ago, The Globe & Mail reported: The peril and promise of artificial intelligence. Here is a pericope from that article:
“The spectre is so alarming that more than 1,000 AI researchers and executives – including Elon Musk, Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak and Peter Norvig, former director of research at Google – this week called for a six-month moratorium on the development of advanced artificial intelligence systems like the latest version of ChatGPT. The danger, the researchers claim in an open letter published by The Future of Life Institute, a non-profit think tank with offices in California and Brussels, is “ever more powerful digital minds that no one – not even their creators – can understand, predict or control.” It added: “AI systems with human-competitive intelligence can pose profound risks to society and humanity.”
SurvivalBlog reader D.C. recently wrote me:
I am writing a blog to update those that are not seeing the huge dangers of AI on the US economy first as a warning and second with preparedness tips. I have worked in the dental industry my entire adult life. I am science-based and rational but do not see how things can possibly work out well in the next 2-to-10 years. The blog is: AIResistanceForce.com.
With D.C.’s permission, I am embedding one of his AI Resistance Force blog articles (dated March 27, 2023), here:
HOW TO MITIGATE THE UPCOMING DISASTER FOR YOUR FAMILY
As technology continues to advance at an unprecedented rate, many experts are warning of the potential for AI overreach. With artificial intelligence poised to take over jobs in nearly every sector, some are beginning to wonder if it’s time to consider getting off the grid entirely. While this may sound like a drastic measure, it’s becoming increasingly clear that it may be the best way to protect oneself from the upheaval that is sure to come.
One of the primary reasons to consider going off the grid is the potential for massive job loss. According to a report from the McKinsey Global Institute, as many as 800 million jobs could be lost to automation by 2030. While not all of these jobs will disappear completely, many will be dramatically reduced in scope, leaving millions of workers without the income they need to support themselves and their families.
Furthermore, the jobs that are most at risk are those that are repetitive, predictable, and rule-based, which happen to be the same jobs that are most easily automated. According to the same McKinsey report, industries such as retail, hospitality, and manufacturing are particularly vulnerable, with as many as 70% of their jobs at risk of automation. This means that millions of workers in these sectors could soon find themselves out of work or struggling to make ends meet with reduced hours and lower wages.
With so much uncertainty surrounding the future of work, many are beginning to consider going off the grid as a way to mitigate the effects of an economy in transition. By investing in solar panels and building a cabin in a remote area, individuals can drastically reduce their dependence on traditional jobs and the fragile economy that supports them. With a healthy savings account and a self-sufficient lifestyle, those who have gone off the grid will be better positioned to weather the coming storm and emerge relatively unscathed.
Of course, going off the grid isn’t for everyone. It requires a significant investment of time, money, and effort, and it’s not always easy to live a self-sufficient lifestyle. However, for those who are willing to make the commitment, it can be a powerful way to take control of one’s own future and avoid the pitfalls of an economy that is in transition.
[Some deleted, for brevity]
Of course, going off the grid isn’t for everyone, and it’s important to carefully consider the risks and benefits before making such a drastic move. However, with the potential for massive job loss and the uncertain future of the economy, it’s becoming increasingly clear that it may be wise to consider alternative options for securing one’s own financial future.
For those who are considering going off the grid, it’s important to start planning and preparing as soon as possible. This may involve investing in solar panels, building a cabin and certainly getting out of debt.
It has been suggested that AIs can develop new, unexpected skills. These are known as emergent properties. One such property that I’ve observed is artistic depth. That is illustrated in this video. Watching it past the 20-second mark, and paying attention to how the AI integrated concepts from the song lyrics into the graphics is stunning.
So, recognizing that emergent properties are a genuine concern, it begs a question… What if AIs develop the property of transnational power scheming — a sort of George Soros psyche, with its fingers reaching into umpteen databases and conspiring with other AIs all around the world, with no limits, and no termination date? (George Soros won’t live forever, but effectively, an AI will.)
In closing, I should mention two things for you to ponder:
First, I’ve already had people submit articles for publication that from their phrasing I determined had been written by Chat GPT. In another few years, as AIs advance, that trickery may be much more difficult to distinguish.
Second, I fully expect the AI algorithms at Google and the other search engines to de-rank this article as “unreliable” and therefore it will end up buried deep in search results or perhaps not even show up, at all. My conclusion is that AIs are already exerting control over society through social media and search engine results skewing. By the time that most people realize this, it may be too late. – JWR