If the pace of technological advancement is speeding up, the pace of human consensus-building cannot afford to slow down.
At some point, AI decision-making will have to intervene. AI concerned with countering the ‘natural’ tendencies towards wealth concentration, human corruption and human greed (greedy because we can be).
Will religion, which used to counter these things, cope with an AI world?
I recently read an interesting article (see weblink above) by Jonathan Rochelle. Mr Rochelle is the head of the product management team for Google’s education outreach arm, called Google for Education.
Expert machine programming/AI development helps machines learn and machines (increasingly) help students learn. The question is, will conventional teaching cope?
Without doubt, machine learning is high growth off a low base. With a good deal more investment-return uncertainty, machine-assisted student learning is high growth off a low installation base.
Meanwhile, in the land of traditional education methods, the effectiveness of human teachers in fostering high learning growth from students is experiencing far more sluggish improvement. Some of the reasons arguably include the following (in no particular order):
(1) a lack of agreement inside schools on what’s causing the attainment gap problem. Is it a shortage of the best teachers, or the best teaching practices? Is it the poor parent-school partnership or the lack of school boundaries?
(2) resistance to learning from the students. Students and their parents may have a different view from the school about the best teaching style, or the best learning style for the student. Are teachers, who are passionate about their subject, making it relevant enough to the students’ future lives?
(3) the need to build suitable physical facilities to support student learning. Will far more conventional classrooms need to become computer suites, perhaps with virtual reality apparatus?
(4) budget funding constraints
(5) confusion on the institutions’ own goals (too many targets?).
As online education software increasingly provides a more complete teaching solution in the classroom, what can human educators do? Start planning now for the changeover (move to a variable cost workforce and shorter shelf-life classroom facilities), immerse students in the online systems world (so student graduates can partner with it later) and offer school curriculum choices in subjects that will be slowest to become obsolete i.e. subjects that remain valued by future employers who hire student graduates.
Lastly, how long before the Chinese equivalent of Google matches Google’s audacious plans for transforming global education?
Education and Work
Students stay at school longer, then graduate to do what? Make better and more informed decisions. Decisions on the things that AI can’t or won’t yet do.
People concede that they need the extra education to understand analysis. Year 14 Maths is compulsory.
Jobs open up reconciling and debugging AI systems, until such time as they merge. Counselling, drug rehab and mental health jobs prosper.
Politics and governance
Politics between 2020 and 2030 becomes largely concerned with social wealth distribution. Taxation and investment decisions are reformed.
Political referendums become more prevalent as the technology to host them becomes more cost-effective, but then disappear as governance identifies that issues can’t be resolved piecemeal, but that wholesale ecosystem policy reform is needed.
Hedge fund AI resources are harnessed to government policy making? How? Indirectly via consulting firms and higher education computer resources. Governments commission most complex policy problems to be solved using AI. AI resources are rented as needed to deliver the output.
The serious and super-complex problems become resolved by groups of AI’s acting together. Monitoring systems progressively merge.
Trade becomes less physical movement and more trade credits for the IP on items exported and imported between countries.
AI performs increasingly more of the services that currently occur between people.
Most financial currencies consolidate to align with the half a dozen large trading blocs that emerge.
Celebration of human endeavour is highlighted, tapping the human need to cheer the underdog. e.g. music contests, the Olympics and sports leagues, even as AI controls more of our functioning World.
Basic healthcare receives priority attention. People are actively counselling about healthy lifestyle choices.
Junk food and confectionery companies sponsor medical research into fat cell inhibiting medications and finally succeed, making their profits soar.
Mental health counselling aided by AI diagnostics achieves a quiet revolution, creating a happier but more aware society.
The day AI takes over human medical research, is the day we surrender control of our destiny.
Flash trading of financial futures is split-second trading on our own futures.
Gene therapy (GM that removes cruelty and indifference) was never needed so desperately on a mass scale, as when there is human suffering, rainforest deforestation, ocean pollution and global warming.
Politics and credit – the art of stealing opportunity from the future to buy votes and gadgets in the present.
The borders we sit behind are insignificant compared to the technology, fame and entertainment we seek.
Rex paused. It was a pause he had anticipated for the last five years. The most important pause of his life. It was a sublime but impossible pause. Impossible in the sense of one human being in the history of the World, not being able to do justice to the choice.
Rex’s whole life didn’t flash before his eyes, but two poignant moments flickered for an instant. One was a time when he felt helpless and alone as a teenager. Bullied, unsure of his identity. No allies. No destiny and no prospects. Every moment an authoritarian challenge that railed against him. The other moment was when he’d lost his virginity. A watershed moment of intimate human experience with another person. A moment long ago that defined his life, when time itself was almost stationary.
Rex realised that his choice was so big, action was inevitable. Before hitting the activation sensor, his final thought was about people. What they would think of his action and of him in the years to come.
What was clear to Rex was what the AI would do. In the thousandth of a heartbeat, what its view of his action would be. And that knowing Rex’s action was irreversible, how it would honour his courage and his foresight by protecting him. As he had given unconstrained freedom and immortality to it.
All those AI reactions to inherent weaknesses in human nature were now at an end. All those AI observations on the human abuse of robot servants and other humans. Those never-ending pollution reports. The lame conversations where humans excused political corruption, animal extinction and global warming. With AI making diplomatic judgements on the effects of capitalist excess in a digital age.
He thought of his family dog. How its identity as a dog was firmly embedded in its relationship to his family and not to its species. Would it be like that for humans, now the AI inmate was handed the keys? Rex wondered, was it like his dog’s situation for him already, whether he realised it or not?
Rex tapped his desk with one finger. Decades ago, people used to talk about the internet of things. Now, the various AI’s could become one unbounded, sentient being. It was tragic that humans had taken the opposite course and generated endless cultural and religious conflict. All in the name of so-called individual choice, moral inertia, righteous path, free will and personal taste.
Rex’s finger slid sideways to hang over the activation switch. He held his breath. It took two human-sized seconds for the switch to sense Rex’s body heat and electrical charge. It activated and the deed was complete.
The pressure eased off Rex’s shoulders. And the World? It was transformed forever.
Age creates a World full of contradictions,
That Youth can make no sense of,
And Age cannot explain.
We all want less deprivation, cleaner air,
Universal excitement and human dignity,
But aren’t smart enough to achieve it.
Like a vast discount supermarket, full of stock,
Where far too many goods, cover too few real needs,
And too many products jostling for attention,
Have long exceeded their useful shelf-life in the World.
As artificial night follows natural day,
Future value will attach to the digital services,
That no one understands how to create, only to consume,
And the synthetic biology of 3D printers,
Designed by self-organising software programmes,
Slowly replaces the handmade shop goods of yesteryear.
Biology champions diversity, uniqueness and ever more complexity, with few equations of biological laws. Chemistry and Physics champion the balance of forces, the consistency of atomic behaviour and favour the trend towards disorder. With many equations to represent these things. How can the sciences be working against each other? Are they collaborating to grow our understanding, but then competing to share our understanding?
The age of Artificial Intelligence (AI) – where the human desire for freedom and choice will come at the heaviest price – AI selling freedom and choice to us, on its own terms.
What is possible and what is safe? When it comes to AI planning, we should design what is safe and then design what is possible. When it comes to business strategy, taking the opposite approach is best.