Saturday, May 20, 2023

Artificial Idiocracy

Artificial Intelligence (AI), has made remarkable strides in recent decades, ususpectingly permeating many facets of our lives beyond the industry's inside jokes on the subject, this year's humorous hype as financial markets first discover the power of chatbot decision trees, and the yet to be seen rise of the Terminator. While there is immense potential for progress and convenience, we must remain aware to the unintended consequences AI may bring. There are insidious dangers of AI, specifically in shaping societal behavior, education, and political and economic systems, that will likely proceed to a dystopian future such as the one depicted in the movie Idiocracy.

Rising generations are increasingly glued to screens, already becoming victims to the trap of escapism. AI algorithms, designed to optimize engagement, will capitalize on human psychology to keep individuals hooked. In an AI-dominated world, people will be perpetually immersed in a matrix of illusion virtual reality that consumes their time and attention. As predicted in Idiocracy, people's lives will revolve around mindless entertainment, inhibiting critical thinking, creativity, and social interaction. The line between reality and simulation blurs, leading to a passive, detached society devoid of intellectual curiosity.

Education, a pillar of societal development, will be greatly influenced by AI. With AI's ability to automate various tasks, students will become reliant on machines to perform their academic responsibilities, such as homework and basic research. The convenience of AI-enabled solutions may seem appealing, but it undermines the fundamental purpose of education; to foster independent thinking, problem-solving, and intellectual growth. Consequently, students may become complacent and lack the drive to explore beyond their comfort zones, stifling innovation and intellectual progress.

One of the significant dangers of an AI-dominated world lies in the suppression of critical thinking and resistance to change. AI algorithms, tailored to reinforce existing biases and preferences, create echo chambers that shield individuals from alternative viewpoints. Assuming we are not assimilated to become mere sex organs for the machines, controllers of the systems will refine outputs to socially engineer desired outcomes. Consequently, people will become resistant to new ideas, political ideologies, and economic systems, perpetuating the status quo. This leads to a stagnant society where transformative change is neglected, hindering progress and societal well-being.

AI's advanced capabilities enable psychological operations to an unprecedented extent. Advertisements, propaganda, and misinformation campaigns can be precisely tailored to exploit the vulnerabilities of individuals, ultimately influencing their thoughts, beliefs, and behaviors. In an AI-driven society, people are more susceptible to manipulation, as algorithms relentlessly feed them information that aligns with their existing biases and preferences. This further erodes critical thinking and reinforces conformity, exacerbating the erosion of an informed citizenry. A scary implication of AI is that someday you might not be able to trust what you read on the Internet!

While AI promises numerous benefits, we should remain cautious to the potential dangers it poses. If left unchecked, the path towards the Idiocracy world, where the average person is absorbed by screens, education loses its essence, resistance to change prevails, and psychological manipulation becomes rampant, becomes plausible. To prevent such a future, it is crucial to strike a balance between AI's capabilities and our ethical responsibility. Society must prioritize critical thinking, promote digital literacy, and ensure transparency and accountability in the bureaucrats of ubiquitous AI systems. This may counterintuitively be best diverted by less regulatory capture that is currently being argued for that will decrease competition. We can harness the true potential of AI while avoiding the perils that lie on the path ahead.