AI: Dangerous or a Nuisance
AI: Dangerous or a Nuisance

Two recent articles show the two sides of AI - its intelligence and its ignorance. Ian Bremmer says in Foreign Affairs:

"Generative AI systems can already write more clearly and persuasively than most humans and can produce original images, art, and even computer code based on simple language prompts." 

Meanwhile Axios says about the books AI is writing:

"Searches on Amazon — estimated to control at least half of all U.S. book sales, and an even bigger share of the growing e-book market — are increasingly turning up mediocre AI-generated titles filled with unreliable information and soggy prose."

In both cases, AI is mainly regurgitating information it found on-line without doing any real analysis other than making the language sound natural. AI has no morals or understanding, but it can suction up and process enormous amounts of information that can then be used for good or evil. AI can act on this information data, perhaps to start a war or shut down an electric grid, but it might not act in the same way a human being would respond to the same data. AI can give the impression that it has feelings and intuitions, but it doesn't really have them; it's copying what it finds in the data it peruses.

AI can analyze battlefield data and decide the best attack or defense but will have no sympathy for the soldiers likely to die in the battle. It can analyze enoumous amounts of voter data and decide the best approach to winning an election, but without caring whether the candidate should win or not for the good of the country. It could create a "Big Brother" who doesn't really exist to appear on social media, perhaps as a candidate, perhaps as a spokesman or commentator, who could become extremely powerful.

Ian Bremmer wants governments to reign in these types of threats, but as he recognizes, it will take new approaches that will tax the competence of politicians. For me, the good news is that I see AI as tactically threatening, but not strategically. It will be easier to control strategic threats than tactical ones that will lead to all sorts of short-term disruptions, but maybe not the end of the world.

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