ChatGPT, a new AI system that sounds so human in conversation that it hosts its own podcast, is a test of temperament. Reading its instantly generated, grammatically perfect lines, one sees a very different vision of the future.
For some, ChatGPT promises to revolutionize the way we search for information, draft articles, write software code, and create business plans.When they use ChatGPT, they will see Star Trek: A future in which the individual has as many opportunities for realization as the universe itself.
As we hand over to machines the creative process that was once the domain of humans, others will only see massive job displacement and a severe loss of agency.When they use ChatGPT, they will see black mirror: A future where technological innovation exists primarily to annoy, humiliate, intimidate, and most importantly, dehumanize humans.
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I am firmly in Star Trek camp, because while I fully acknowledge that the tech industry is imperfect and will always require thoughtful, responsive leadership, I still believe that improvement through technology is the most efficient way for humanity to progress.
That’s why I first moved to Silicon Valley from a planned career in academia. In the early 1990s, I saw how globally distributed software on the Internet could create new opportunities to empower people at scale, which eventually led me to co-found LinkedIn. I want to use technology to help individuals improve economic opportunity throughout their careers and thus have more opportunities to pursue meaning in life.
technological humanism usually with Transhumanismreferring to the fact that we are incorporating so much technology into our lives that eventually we will evolve into a whole new species of posthuman or superhuman.
I interpret technological humanism in a slightly different way. What defines humans is not only our unusual level of intelligence, but also how we harness that intelligence by developing technologies that enhance and complement our mental, physical, and social abilities. If we just sort by our science—a wise man– Sitting there all day thinking, we become very different creatures than we actually are.A more accurate name for us would be Technician: Humans as tool-makers and tool-users. The story of humanity is the story of technology.
Technology is what makes us usWe are neither less human nor superhuman nor posthuman through the tools we create. We become more human.
That doesn’t mean that all technological innovations automatically yield good results — far from it. New technologies can create new problems or exacerbate old ones, such as when AI systems end up reproducing biases present in their training data (for example, targeting minorities). Those of us in the tech industry should be vigilant about our efforts to mitigate and correct problems like this.
Read: How racism baked into technology is hurting teens
I would also never imply that technology is neutral and can be used for good as well as bad. The values, assumptions, and desires we build into the technologies we create determine how they are used, and what kind of results they can produce. This is why technological humanism should strive for outcomes that benefit humanity broadly.
At the same time, the perspective of technological humanism is also oriented towards the future, dynamism and change. That means it inevitably clashes with a desire for safety, predictability and familiarity. In moments of accelerated innovation—as we’re experiencing now with robotics, virtual reality, synthetic biology, and especially artificial intelligence—the urge to consolidate the status quo in the uncertain realms of the new reality is also accelerate.
Just like that, New York City’s public school system has blocked students and teachers from accessing ChatGPT in their classrooms. Several online art communities have banned users from uploading images they created using AI image generators such as DALL-E, Midjourney, and Stable Diffusion.
I see. Learning to write an essay from scratch is a time-honored method of developing critical thinking, organizational skills, and personal expression. The vivid and beautiful imagery created stroke by stroke is perhaps the epitome of human creativity.
But if teachers use ChatGPT to instantly personalize lesson plans for each student in the class, wouldn’t that be human in a way that the industrialized methods of traditional classroom instruction don’t? Isn’t a tool that allows millions of people to express their thoughts visually and communicate with each other in new ways a step forward for humanity?
If simply declaring that “technology is neutral” and avoiding any responsibility for negative outcomes is harmful to society – and I believe it is – so is rejecting a technology simply because of its ability to produce negative as well as positive outcomes.
Will the mass adoption of robots usher in a new era of human prosperity rather than human marginalization? In what ways can AI-driven research help us harness the power of nuclear fusion safely in time to help avoid the worst consequences of climate change? It is natural to peer into the dark unknown and ask questions that may arise. It is equally necessary – and more essentially human – to do so and envision what might be right.