Elon Musk’s warning about the potential dangers of AI has sparked discussions about its risks and the need for regulation. Musk, deeply involved in AI through various companies, highlighted the significant threat that it poses, that it holds the potential to bring civilization to destruction. He emphasized the importance of government regulation before it might be too late.
Musk’s concerns echo broader anxieties about the future of AI and its unabated progress. The more we advance, the more a dystopian fear of machines turning against humans shifts from fantasy to a potential reality. We can see throughout history that human inventions, even seemingly positive ones, have had negative consequences.
Since human nature is egoistic, where we prioritize self-benefit over benefiting others, then our inventions, including AI, reflect our self-centeredness. While there might be positive outcomes from various human creations, since we are prone to exploit, manipulate and abuse each other for self-interest motives, such as gaining wealth and power, we then see how our technology likewise fuels these negative motions toward each other.
Our narrow egoistic perception greatly limits our understanding of reality, and this is why any kind of positive transformation of ourselves requires connecting to the forces dwelling in nature, beyond our minds and hearts, in order to let the laws of nature navigate our lives.
In addition to the threat of machines causing physical destruction in the world is also the known threat of technological unemployment and the idea that much of today’s workforce will find itself unemployed due to AI developments. I have already written and spoken extensively on that topic, that a post-work era has the potential to give rise to a new kind of work: to treat connection-enriching learning as work through which we gain a stipend that covers our life’s essentials. However, that too requires a paradigm shift in how we think about work: that work no longer defines our lives as it currently does for much of society, but rather work takes on a more necessary form, and positive human connection becomes our central engagement.
Regardless of changes in technology and work, we should nonetheless seek how to adjust our attitudes to each other, to again and again choose a motion of uniting above our divisive drives, and develop our systems of learning and social influence in order to do so. The more we do, the more we will transcend our narrow egoistic limitations and activate a broader movement toward a harmonious and peaceful world.