Is AI Bad for Humanity?
It seems everyone is talking about Artificial Intelligence (AI) and its advantages and disadvantages. My friends Darren Doane and Brian Godawa are using it for great benefit. Brian has used AI to create artistic renderings for his characters in his upcoming book Cruel Logic. Here’s what his detective Cornelius Van Til looks like:
Brian used an AI artist for characters in his other books. My oldest son, who’s a software engineer, uses AI for some of his work.
Hearings are being held on the dangers of AI. That’s rich coming from politicians who don’t need AI to control us, limit our freedoms, confiscate our money, and send our children off to fight immoral wars. I suspect that today’s politicians are fearful of AI because it might limit their power over us. Beware when the Federal Government wants to “save” us from anything. Government regulation of AI will only mean that the government will be the only entity that has full access to AI technology that is unlawful for anyone else to have. Consider gun control. When guns are taken away from citizens, only governments and their agents will have guns. Do we want to trust the government that faked the Russian Collusion hoax and lied about COVID? Do you want Richard Blumenthal making rules about AI?
Subcommittee Chair Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) referred to the proliferation of AI as a “bomb in a China shop,” warning that the “looming new industrial revolution” could displace millions of American workers and dramatically undermine public safety and trust in key institutions. “[These dangers] are no longer fantasies of science fiction. They are real. They are present,” Blumenthal said. “Sensible safeguards are not in opposition to innovation.” To that end, Blumenthal said the hearing’s purpose was to “demystify and hold accountable these new technologies” and “intended to write the rules of AI” before it was too late.
Our biggest threat is politicians and the institutions they’ve created to rule over us. Anything they want to regulate comes back to bite us in the backside. They want to force us into electric vehicles, outlaw gas stoves, and regulate our lives down to the smallest detail.
Someone like George Soros is a bigger threat. Tom Woods writes:
According to a 2016 Politico article, though, “The billionaire financier has channeled more than $3 million into seven local district-attorney campaigns in six states over the past year — a sum that exceeds the total spent on the 2016 presidential campaign by all but a handful of rival super-donors.”
That article also pointed out that Soros had spent money on district-attorney campaigns in half a dozen states via state-level super PACs as well as a national “527” that is allowed to raise unlimited funds from numerous sources. Each of these groups has as its name a variant of “Safety and Justice,” though Soros and his followers intend to supply neither. Most of the money for these organizations came from Soros directly.
Yes, people like Soros will use AI, and so will every other tyrant. The goal, therefore, is to get AI into the hands of the people. As with all technologies, ethics is the issue as it is with everything. AI in medicine can detect breast and pancreatic cancers very early. This is good. But medical knowledge can also be used to kill unborn babies and mutilate people based on transgender ideology.
The printing press was a threat to church and state but a beacon of freedom for everyone else. Have there been problems with what’s been published since Gutenberg printed a Latin translation of the Bible? Absolutely. Government schools are being flooded with literature filled with leftist propaganda and filth. What’s the solution? Parents should remove their children from government schools, vote down every school tax, and eliminate the Department of Education.
Congressional testimony has pointed out that jobs will be lost.
For example, a librarian was formerly a high-demand occupation because people had to go to the library to retrieve information and needed direction to find what they were looking for. Long before, calligraphy was essential because people needed to record and copy knowledge by hand. Later, typewriters and the printing press sped up the mass production of written materials. (Source)
Every advance in technology results in the loss of jobs — from the horse and buggy industry when the automobile was developed for the masses to typewriters and typesetters with the development of computers, word processing programs, and design programs. Self-publishing is a multi-billion-dollar industry. There are no longer any gatekeepers. You don’t need a publishing company to publish a book. Even with cancel-culture efforts, there’s still a great deal of freedom for innovators and risk-takers.
The industries that arose from the development of the microchip that was conceptualized from the vacuum tube and transistor created far more jobs than were lost. Sit down sometime and list the number of new jobs and industries that have had their origin in the development of new technologies in the past 25 years. A smartphone has the ability to script, record audio and video record, edit, and produce a film. Think of podcasts. Downloadable music. Streaming. It will astound you. The same thing will happen with AI. There will be tradeoffs. Those will have to be thought through.
The past century or so has been a bit of a blitzkrieg of progress. From horse-and-buggy to passenger trains to the family car to everyday air travel. From the Abacus to adding machines to desktop calculators to smartphones. From iron to steel to silicon-laced aluminum to touch-sensitive glass. From waiting for wheat to reaching for citrus to being handed chocolate to on-demand guacamole.1
AI is not really artificial intelligence. It relies on intelligence and morality. It can be used for truth and deception. The same is true of the Bible. It all depends on who’s using it and for what purpose. Think of the film The Book of Eli in this short clip.
AI can’t function without intelligent input of intelligence already developed. The more information you put in the more comprehensive and accurate the results will be. The biggest revolution could be in the area of education.
Here’s something Darren Doane and I did in less than a minute. We asked ChatGPT to compare the common elements of an ethical worldview for the following three films: Casablanca (1942), The Day the Earth Stood Still (the 1951 version), and Forbidden Planet (1956). Here’s what it came up with:
- Humanity’s Struggle with Power and Responsibility: All three films, in their own ways, explore humanity’s struggle with power and the moral responsibility that comes with it. In “Forbidden Planet,” the advanced technology of the Krell brings about their own destruction when they can’t handle it responsibly. “The Day the Earth Stood Still” deals with the advent of nuclear power and the potential for humanity to destroy itself. In “Casablanca,” Rick has the power to choose who gets the letters of transit, a decision that could greatly influence the outcome of certain characters’ lives.
- Sacrifice for the Greater Good: In “Casablanca,” Rick sacrifices his own happiness for the greater good, allowing Ilsa to leave with Laszlo to continue his work in the resistance. Similarly, in “The Day the Earth Stood Still,” Klaatu risks and ultimately sacrifices his life to deliver a crucial message to mankind, and Dr. Morbius in “Forbidden Planet” must face the destructive consequences of his actions to save the crew of the spaceship.
- Fear of the Unknown: Each reflects film a struggle with the fear of the unknown—whether it’s the unknown of living under Nazi occupation in “Casablanca,” the unknown of alien life and intentions in “The Day the Earth Stood Still,” or the unknown consequences of unchecked technological advancement in “Forbidden Planet.”
- Personal Redemption: Each film also features a story of personal redemption. Rick in “Casablanca” moves from cynical neutrality to taking a moral stand. Dr. Morbius in “Forbidden Planet” faces the dark side of his own nature, and Klaatu in “The Day the Earth Stood Still” offers humanity a chance at redemption by choosing peace over violence.
- Reflection of Contemporary Social Concerns: Finally, each film reflects the moral and ethical concerns of the time they were made. “Casablanca” was released during WWII and reflects concerns about fascism and neutrality. “The Day the Earth Stood Still” and “Forbidden Planet” were both Cold War-era films, reflecting fears about nuclear annihilation, the arms race, and the ethical implications of scientific progress.
(In the film The Day the Earth Stood Still, Gort was the product of AI. It was given a great deal of decision-making authority long before SkyNet in the Terminator film series.)
What ChatGPT did in compiling existing information on the three films is a smidgen of what can be accomplished via AI. As I mentioned, there are tradeoffs. Ignoring the potential and dangers of AI will not make it go away or have no effect on us. There’s no neutrality.
- Peter, Zeihan, The End of the World is Just the Beginning: Mapping the Collapse of Globalization (New York: Harper Business, 2022), 1.