7 votes

How AI will reshape the global order - a reprint from 2018 that gave me pause

4 comments

  1. [4]
    moriarty (edited ) Link
    I am very suspicious about prophecies on the future of AI, simply because they are very often wrong. Literally as soon as the core concepts were discussed and developed in the 60 and 70, people...

    I am very suspicious about prophecies on the future of AI, simply because they are very often wrong. Literally as soon as the core concepts were discussed and developed in the 60 and 70, people started expounding on the kind of societies these revolutions will bring. You can see that in science fiction books of the time and op-eds and ads claiming it will be an end to chores and the beginning of a new golden age of enlightenment. We tend to extrapolate the possibilities to the maximum of our imagination at the time and think that this is what's going to happen, and it's just around the - robotic societies, machines that can read a person's mind. The reality of course was much different as we started to come to terms with the difficulties and limitations of neutral nets and AI.
    We are pretty bad at predictions. Even 15-20 years ago nobody would've predicted the information problem we're seeing today with the rise of fake news and the effectiveness in which it controlled us. We assumed the internet has brought education and knowledge to the people and that will be its trajectory.

    But speaking of China and the subjugation of dissenters, I do often think that now that power and proper laws have been established in Western nations - will we ever see another revolution? Are revolutions even possible in this day and age? Or is power too established, too powerful and too entrenched and will nip any attempt at the bud? Will the french human rights revolution even be possible in today's world, with law enforcement, NSA and FBI ever watching? As we begin to see the problems and difficulties baked into the democratic system we've built, there are definitely a lot of things that need fixing and cannot be fixed from within because of the generations of power and control amassed by the elites. There are certainly archaic laws written 3 centuries ago that no longer apply to us and yet cannot be changed. Will we ever see another revolution to rewrite our societies in modern contexts?

    5 votes
    1. [3]
      DonQuixote Link Parent
      That's because they have short memories. Fake news has been around as a business model since at least the 1890's, with newspapers being accused of yellow journalism in attempts to sell newspapers...

      Even 15-20 years ago nobody would've predicted the information problem we're seeing today with the rise of fake news and the effectiveness in which it controlled us.

      That's because they have short memories. Fake news has been around as a business model since at least the 1890's, with newspapers being accused of yellow journalism in attempts to sell newspapers and influence elections. The possibility of electronic media as a subversive tool dates at least back to 1948 with George Orwell, subliminal adverting, and the cold war.

      Your comments on China are well put. I think they're a special case. I don't think we understand the mind-set of what China is trying to do at all. We're too tunnel-visioned and localized in our thinking. The European community is much more aware of alternatives to democratic peace and order. Anarchy a term that they're very familiar with, because it's right at their door.

      As far as predicting the future, it's true we can't see clearly ahead. What I'm talking about is more the things we already see happening, like cocooned gamers, increasing escapism through drugs and suicide, the loss of the middle class, right along with technological advancements that are both unsettling and weirdly inviting, like drone technology, for example. In our successful quest for better and better simulations of reality, the outcomes will certainly surprise us. But not in hindsight. We're really good at hindsight.

      2 votes
      1. [2]
        moriarty Link Parent
        You're right of course. Propaganda has existed before and was responsible for atrocious things throughout the 20th century. What I was trying to say in that paragraph was that throughout the early...

        You're right of course. Propaganda has existed before and was responsible for atrocious things throughout the 20th century. What I was trying to say in that paragraph was that throughout the early internet in the 90s and 2000s, everyone was talking about the democratization of information - the internet will liberate information and make it easier for everyone to access. The truth could be easily discerned because all research will be made public. People kept saying it even as late as the Arab Spring uprising in 2010. Propaganda using the internet was never even mentioned. Huxley did talk about drowning the truth is a sea of banal, self-absorbed hedonism way back in the 60s, but I don't recall ever seeing it applied to the internet until mid 2010s.

        As for China - I have to admit I have very little experience or exposure. I'm mostly thinking about attempts to revolutionize Western nations and societies. I suspect we're past the point where this is possible, but at the same time the growing fractures within citizens in many Western nations demands it.

        2 votes
        1. DonQuixote Link Parent
          China has 13 five year plans. Of course Russia does too (at least they used to) but China I think is more serious about theirs, based on their performance as a nation in the past 20 years. See...

          China has 13 five year plans. Of course Russia does too (at least they used to) but China I think is more serious about theirs, based on their performance as a nation in the past 20 years. See this article on the "Made in China 25" initiative. It has the Trump and some Republicans running scared and I suspect is the main impetus behind the 'trade war'. I Look for the present administration to blame China if the U.S. encounters economic headwinds in the near future. With China's central control of everything from their oil companies to factory and international expansion, they're much better disposed to exploiting technology on a huge level without running into the hindrance of our "pesky and inefficient" Democratic processes.

          What really concerns me is when I hear that, for example, the movie Dr. Strange casted Irish Tilda Swinton as The Ancient One instead of a Tibetan or Chinese actor because the producers were afraid the movie wouldn't be on screens in China if they did.

          https://www.cinemablend.com/new/Blunt-Yet-Difficult-Reason-Doctor-Strange-Ancient-One-Isn-t-Asian-126937.html

          1 vote