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AI and the rise of nonsense

Jaron Lanier is no clown but his conversation (video) on Edge.org takes on AI mythology and the formulation of, what he calls, "mass incompetence."

"There is a social and psychological phenomenon that has been going on for some decades now:  A core of technically proficient, digitally-minded people reject traditional religions and superstitions. They set out to come up with a better, more scientific framework. But then they re-create versions of those old religious superstitions! In the technical world these superstitions are just as confusing and just as damaging as before, and in similar ways."
Lanier's defense of AI (the technology) against fantasies leveled against AI (the mythology) are worth considering, though I don't think his notion of putting political/social control on the "actuators" is going to produce a very pleasant society. But I think he gets to a key point late in the conversation when he says:

"Maybe it's worse today, because in the old days, at least we had the distinction between, say, ethics and morality, where you could talk about two similar things, where one was a little bit more engaged with the mythology of religion, and one is a little less engaged. We don't quite have that yet for our new technical world, and we certainly need it."

And there you have it.  "The personal is political" is the ethos of our "new technical world" though Jaron Lanier might pine for a bygone era, I think the new AI deity demands the removal of this distinction. The machine has no morality and so it's ethics are situational and random even when "guided" by men.

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