[Episode 4] Artificial intelligence from hype to reality
[Episode 4] Artificial intelligence from hype to reality

[Episode 4] Artificial intelligence from hype to reality

The Real Threats of AI

If you’ve been following our epic series with professor Dan Cautis, then you’re already familiar with intriguing aspects of the history of AI, the radical claims of Transhumanists and the biggest challenges in achieving Singularity. If you haven’t watched it just yet, you can catch up here.

The hype around Singularity drives the public attention span towards irrelevant, yet catchy predictions. Unintentionally, we are misled from the real threats of Artificial Intelligence. Hence, most of the time we’re having the wrong conversations. 

In the 4th and last video of our series – The Real Threats of AI, Professor Cautis explains why the AI threats are certain (yet not existential) – and how to prepare for the major social realignments that we’re going to face in the future. 

Here are the meaningful debates at the core of this last episode:

  1. The fascination with Singularity
  2. The religious fervor around AI
  3. How AI redefines the sacred space
  4. The apocalyptic AI
  5. Why most conversations about AI are wrong
  6. The downside of the AI hype
  7. The real AI threats, and why they’re not existential
  8. The Orwellian potential danger
  9. The matter of massive unemployment
  10. The return of eugenics
  11. How to embrace the future of AI

This new episode also prepares you for Embodied and Enactive AI – the grand finale of our video series where Professor Cautis will be deconstructing this new paradigm in Artificial Intelligence and Cognitive Science. The talk will be livestreamed on FB and YouTube on May 9th, starting 5 PM Eastern European Time.

Meanwhile, here are 3 key learnings from the Real Threats of AI interview.  

Why people are so fascinated with AI

It’s pretty clear that Singularity is not anywhere near as Kurzweil predicted. Yet, people are still quite fascinated with it. It could be because generally we do not really know how to define it: Is it science-fiction? Is it technology and/or art? Does it have anything to do with religion? Is it moral? Does it belong to philosophy too or is it just a matter of science? Understandably, it’s hard to draw boundaries around AI.

The general perception is that AI brings together technology, science, and art – which makes it both captivating and frightening. Hence, it’s reason enough to stay in awe with it. But then, for some people, AI is just one of the coolest things out there – especially for the younger generations. So they keep having surface conversations on the topic, without analyzing its implications in the long term.

Professor Cautis recommends that we pay more attention to how we address AI and Singularity. Instead of focusing on the threats of Singularity – which are only fueled by the hype and quite unlikely to become reality, we should actually pay more attention to the real threats of AI.

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Cyber space is the new sacred space

In the age of Artificial Intelligence, Professor Cautis reminds us that history repeats itself to a large extent. Very much like in the Age of Reason or the Enlightenment period, we are experiencing a transformation of the sacred space.

Prior to the Industrial Revolution, the Christian, agrarian society had a clear space for God and Heaven. The secularization of society, however, led to fewer Christian believers and more secular believers. In the process, the sacred space somewhat disappeared, leaving God, Heaven, souls, and after-life out of place.

With this sacred space staying empty ever since, people are trying filling the void with AI, transhumanism, and Singularity. Hence, the cyber space is gradually turning into a sacred space.

The religious fervour around AI

The fervour around AI makes it feel like a religious movement. In many ways, transhumanism talks about eternal life – trying to solve the same problem that religion and the Church have been trying to solve since forever. With aces up their sleeves such as mind uploading or disembodied intelligence, transhumanists are promising us eternity.

Apocalyptic AI authors like Moravec promise that “intelligent machines will create a paradise for humans in the short term, but in the long term, humans will need to upload their minds into machine bodies in order to remain a viable life-form.” Shifting from carbon to silicon stands as a solution for eternal life.

Many people believe that mind uploading will be possible – in spite of the technological or philosophical proofs that Singularity is not near or that will not happen. Even from this point of view, the transhumanism movement is in many ways a true religion. In the words of Professor Cautis, transhumanism and Singularity might just be a techno-futuristic kind of religion – not just a futuristic utopia.

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