Silicon Valley God Complex

Were it not for my age, I’d be worried, but I couldn’t give a flying you-know-what at this stage of the game. Mind you, I have two children, a daughter and a son, both in their early 40s, and four grandchildren, two boys and two girls, some still in diapers—that does keep me up at night.

It should also worry anyone whose brain hasn’t been fried by too many hamburgers, asinine TV commercials, or Hollywood tripe, especially when Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg speaks glowingly about artificial intelligence and his company’s ambition to turn us all into zombies.

Here it is in a nutshell: will computers kill us all or help us live forever? The canonical worry is that it is difficult—or perhaps impossible—to ensure that any artificial general intelligence (AI) we create will be aligned with human values.

Zombie tech chiefs like Zuckerberg, Microsoft’s Bill Gates, and Google’s Larry Page insist that AI will be able to invent novel means of capturing carbon from the atmosphere, storing energy in batteries, curing cancer, and making us all attractive. (In Zuckerberg’s case, I am skeptical of this last claim.) The rising prowess of AI even has the Sammy Glicks of Hollywood worried. Soon it will be able to replicate actors, produce screenplays, and substitute the sex appeal of such beauties as Lily James and Keira Knightly.

Yes, sports fans, what was once considered theoretical is now close to reality. If you think today’s culture has gone to pot—pun intended—imagine a culture created by nonhuman intelligence—something like a Soros brain totally creating and controlling our lives. Female beauty would be among the first to go. Computer-generated females strutting in the first artificial intelligence Fashion Week will be something to behold. Not that today’s models exhibit more female pulchritude than the ones that are computer-made, but never mind.

It has already taken place at Soho’s Spring Studios, with a full collection of clothing designed 100 percent by AI. Even the “models” strutting the virtual runway were artificial. When I was a young man, European buddies and I used to hang out at fashion shows, unsuccessfully trying to pick up the better-looking models—something I don’t advise any future Don Giovannis to try with the computer-made dames.

It seems that more than a thousand technology leaders and researchers have urged artificial intelligence labs to pause development, as they just might produce a Frankenstein model with profound risks to humanity. These people sound naïve to me. Gates, Page, and their ilk care only about profits—to hell with humanity. It didn’t seem to bother Gates that Jeffrey Epstein was a criminal sexual predator. Why would he be worried about the future of our grandchildren?

The tech community is made up of hard-nosed, extremely greedy, zombie-like men who, as a group, will be very difficult to convince to pause before it’s too late. The only I outcome I see for AI will be like in the first Frankenstein movie, with Boris Karloff: an angry mob eventually sets fire to the place, and the “thing” goes down in flames.

So, do we all go over to Palo Alto and burn the place down—along with the previously mentioned human horrors? Or do we sit still like good American citizens and wait for the tyranny of technology’s blade to drop? Twitter CEO Elon Musk, a good guy, is said to have fallen out with Larry Page, a baddie, because of the latter’s lack of concern for humankind when it comes to AI. I’m not surprised. Musk says that Page wants a digital superintelligence in hopes of becoming a digital God.

Again, nothing surprising here. Elite freaks have a tendency to try to set themselves up as the Almighty, and why not? They sit above the great American public, the same public that recently gaped open-mouthed at Dear Mama, the most-watched series in FX history. This so-called true story was about the legacy of the rapper-criminal Tupac Shakur and his mother, a Black Panther and cocaine addict. Tupac was eventually killed by other criminals, an outcome we are supposed to view as a tragedy. Both mother and son loathed the police, which I suppose made them legendary heroes in the eye of the public. So why should someone like Page worry about the welfare of a mob like that?

God-like AI is a supposed to be a technological system with the ability to learn and evolve independently and to respond to and manipulate its environment without the need of human supervision. That should ring bells of danger to most intelligent human beings. Unfortunately the great mass of humans who watch and enjoy trash like Dear Mama are oblivious to the danger, and hardly qualified to supervise anything.

T. S. Eliot once agonized over the wisdom we have lost in gaining knowledge. That was back in 1934. Now, any knowledge we gained has been lost in the heaps of dead information piled up online by Google.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.