Stay human while using artificial intelligence
Heodore is a lonely writer going through a difficult divorce. Samantha is intuitive, cheerful and has a sensual voice. Their worlds connect first in a friendship and then in an intense romance. They talk about art, life and love. They argue, laugh, fight, and even have sexual intimacy. They form a pair like any other, except for one detail. He is flesh and bones. “She” is an operating system based on artificial intelligence.
The plot of the 2013 film Her, starring Joaquin Phoenix, raises seminal questions for its time that are surprisingly relevant today: Can we humanize a “machine” enough to make us fall in love with it? As technology advances, will we be tempted to anthropomorphize artificial intelligence more and more? Will we reduce our human condition to a zombie condition where all our needs are met by mathematical algorithms?
When we talk about the everyday use of AI, it is not wrong if a streaming platform suggests us a good movie to watch or we spend some time watching reels of the latest dance trend. The problems begin when we develop an addiction to instant rewards that satisfy our consumption desires. Content is presented seemingly free of charge and accessible anytime, anywhere. The goal of AI in social media is to sweeten our eyes and ears so that we spend more and more time turning into digital automatons.
Former Google engineer Tristan Harris sums it up in one sentence in the great documentary The Social Dilemma: “If you’re not paying for the product, you are the product.”
I don’t want to present apocalyptic scenarios or dystopian futures. AI is and will continue to be a useful place in many areas of our lives, and a lot of my work is to make that possible. However, it is important to be aware of the risks of over-reliance on technology. The goal is not to end the use of AI, but to humanize it and use it to improve the quality of our lives.
Leaders like Tristan Harris, Elon Musk or Yuval Noah Harari warn of the risks of AI development and present powerful scenarios to create awareness and win the Kulturkampf. They appeal to shock because they want to anticipate potential toxic effects of AI, not only in terms of cybersecurity, but also in terms of its damaging effects on social relationships and the resulting dehumanization of the user.
Let’s think of a not too distant future where we live with a virtual avatar. A kind of best friend or partner that looks the way we like physically, talks to us the way we want, is always in a good mood, is there 24/7 to listen to us and answer all our questions to answer and who has the same interests as us. just like in the movie Her. Why create physical bonds when avatars could serve that function? Can we be friends with a machine? The answer may be yes, but it is important to ask the question in a timely manner and to understand the risks involved in such relationships with AI.
Comfort can be a hindrance to our critical spirit, our ability to grapple with important issues, connect with other people, and thrive as social beings. Artificial intelligence sometimes contradicts these basic needs.
Speaking about the topic in family settings, classrooms, business forums, and political spaces is crucial. The companies working on AI development play a fundamental role in guiding this process.
We need to make society more aware of the risks of artificial intelligence and promote best practices. Although there are already initiatives like the Center for Humane Technology that go in this direction, there is still a lot to do. The good news is that we still have time to act. Just as we have stopped smoking on airplanes and in closed rooms because we understood that tobacco is toxic, or forced ourselves to wear seat belts in cars because we understood that our lives would otherwise be in danger the time will come when we will understand that artificial intelligence must dehumanize the machine and humanize the human.
Juan José Murphy is Global Head of Artificial Intelligence and Data Science at Globant
https://www.standard.co.uk/business/artificial-intelligence-love-human-ai-b1082765.html Stay human while using artificial intelligence