The lunatic is in my head
You raise the blade
You make the change
You rearrange me ’till I’m sane
You lock the door
And throw away the key
There’s someone in my head, but it’s not me
From “Brain Damage” by Pink Floyd
“The concept of a dream machine … the human-computer symbiosis … is exciting. We went from the bicycle to the steam engine with ChatGPT.”
Symbiosis. Does it sound like transhumanism yet?
The above was the explanation of Microsoft Chief Executive Satya Nadella, speaking this past week in a keynote speech about how every human worker may soon be expected to welcome an AI symbiosis.
Nadella promoted the symbiosis as “exciting.”
But it may only be exciting for corporations that stand to make the lion’s share of profits from exploiting AI, and for governments that may increasingly deploy AI more and more intrusively to “co-pilot” citizenries.
Expect it. To remain relevant and “compliant” at their workplaces, humans may soon be facing forced augmentation with AI.
And citizens, to remain in good social credit standing, will also be drawn into more compulsory symbiosis with the brave new ascendance of Artificial General Intelligence (AGI).
“Creative Destruction” of the Web, “Personal Agents”–and Much More
In early February, we predicted in The Trends Journal that generative AI systems like ChatGPT and Bard AI would leave human creatives out in the cold by undermining and hijacking the whole internet paradigm of using search engines to reach websites. (See “CREATIVE CONTENT INFRINGEMENT OF DEEP LEARNING AI HAS MONUMENTAL IMPLICATIONS,” 7 Feb 2023.)
This past week, Bill Gates echoed our prediction, while speaking at a Goldman Sachs and SV Angel event in San Francisco, as reported by CNBC:
“Whoever wins the personal agent, that’s the big thing, because you will never go to a search site again, you will never go to a productivity site, you’ll never go to Amazon again.”
(“Bill Gates says A.I. could kill Google Search and Amazon as we know them,” 22 May 2023.)
If the paradigm shift spells problems for Amazon’s world-leading selling platform, you can bet it has the potential to wreck the revenue models of millions of small online businesses and niche content websites.
Many people still have reckoned the full import of how generative AI chatbots effectively cut out websites, spitting out “on the fly” content and analysis as answers and flows of conversation.
For anyone who supposes that Bard and ChatGPT are wonderful because they can help write blog posts and create other kinds of content like a digital genie with “total web recall,” guess again.
As these AI chatbots continue to evolve and become even more sophisticated, who will bother to go to websites to read blog posts, when they can converse and glean info directly from super powerful AI?
At the conference, Gates emphasized that corporations are currently racing to develop AI “personal agents” that will effectively be integrated as constant companions to humans. He posited that AI could help with such tasks as “read[ing] the stuff you don’t have time to read.”
But personal agents won’t be limited to chiming in with helpful information when asked.
AI that can listen and report, as well as doling out ongoing insights and performing tasks in the background as a constant “wingbot,” provides the perfect surveillance solution for the government corporate nexus in white hot pursuit of advancing the technology.
Governments could employ AI as next level surveillance agents, making the clunky surveillance partnerships they erected with social media platforms like Twitter and facebook seem like stone age relics.
Corporations, meanwhile, will no doubt use personal agents to track and sell to end users in a much more comprehensive ongoing way than current social media and website tracking technologies.
The suggestions and recommendations of AI, that much more convincing because they come from a seeming human-like companion intelligence, will be far more persuasive than legacy web ads.
Will Gov-Corp (the Government-Corporate nexus) be content for personal agents to remain on cell phones?
With Brain Computer Interfaces (BCIs) around the corner, no one should expect that AI personal agents will remain outside users’ heads.
Human trials of Elon Musk’s “Neuralink” BCI technology were just approved this past week.
As with most controversial technology, the benefits to those with medical conditions and limitations are being touted as a cutting edge benefit of “miracle” technology.
But it probably won’t be long before the technology is marketed as a must-have “cool next thing” for younger generations that are more open to future tech—and less cognizant of the dystopian dangers.
Many will be seduced into augmenting themselves with the technology, just as so many are now tied to—and lost without—their cell phones.
A BCI inside the human body can’t be left at home, or cut off from communicating by placing it in a shielded bag.
This, and other forms of symbiosis of humans and AI will likely go much further than most ChatGPT enthusiasts are currently contemplating.
And those who don’t want any part of such technology may find themselves socially demonized in much the same way that “anti-vaxxers” were relentlessly vilified. Look for pressure to accept AI personal agent “monitoring” to combat misinformation and extremism, help “secure the homeland,” and otherwise ensure the good and “safety,” just as gene level treatments and absurd lockdown and social limitations were pushed during the COVID War.
Does AI Have to Lead in a Dystopian Direction?
Gates pretended that the race to create a must-have AI personal agent could go either way, with either an established corporate power like Microsoft or Google, or a start-up like Inflection, succeeding in creating the augmentation technology.
As the Trends Journal has fully detailed, that’s a false “David and Goliath” narrative.
The truth is, just as OpenAI was swallowed into a tighter partnership with Microsoft following its world-changing free public preview of ChatGPT in late 2022, innovative tech start-ups tend to end up being absorbed by a handful of tech corporations with deep coffers. (See “HOW BIG TECH MAINTAINS ITS MONOPOLY” 17 Aug 2021 and “HOW BIG TECH MAINTAINS ITS MONOPOLY: A FOLLOW-UP” 24 Aug 2021.)
Government regulators have done little to ensure a truly competitive market, instead allowing ongoing consolidation and ever-growing concentration of power in the tech sector, just as in the financial sector and the public sector.
Smaller players and start-ups are often funded by government-corporate seed money. They are often started by entrepreneurs who break off from corporations. Those that hit on promising innovations are then bought out by one or another of a handful of behemoths, and absorbed back into the power matrix.
Gerald Celente calls it “Bigs Getting Bigger,” and those bigs keep it going by plowing millions and billions into their political influence schemes. (See, for example, “BILLIONAIRE TAX SCOFFLAWS PLOW SAVINGS INTO WEBS OF CONTROL” 15 Jun 2021 and “IT’S DEAD, JIM: BIG TECH ANTITRUST BILLS GOING NOWHERE IN CONGRESS” 13 Sep 2022.)
Decentralized permissionless blockchain crypto technology represents one of the few tech exceptions to the rule. In this light, perhaps it’s easier to understand why authorities and corporate elites like the Biden Administration, Senator Elizabeth Warren, Charlie Munger and Jamie Dimon are so venomously opposed to Bitcoin.
Interestingly, decentralized, permissionless crypto-powered blockchain technologies might offer a way out of the Gov-Corp control box for AI.
The best hope for responsible development of AI which seeks to help humans without surpassing them and leaving them in dust, and / or controlling them via nightmarish surveillance and thought regulation, surely will require widespread average citizen input.
Crypto technologies such as Decentralized Autonomous Organizations can provide those kinds of transparent and widespread governance mechanisms.
Crypto technology can also potentially distribute the benefits and efficiencies of AI in a transparent and equalitarian way that vests the rewards with all the human creatives that contributed to human knowledge that AI trains on, instead of driving and concentrating the benefits, power and wealth to a handful of tech corporations, and elite-controlled political bodies. (See “AUTOMATING OUT OF WORLD CRISIS?” 12 Jul 2022, “CAN CRYPTO TECHNOLOGY DEMOCRATIZE THE AI AND AUTOMATION REVOLUTION?” 21 Feb 2023 and “USING CRYPTO TECHNOLOGY TO DISTRIBUTE BENEFITS AND OVERSEE DEVELOPMENT OF AI” 9 May 2023.)
There is much to soberly contemplate and become more proactive about, concerning transhuman AI “symbiosis” already in the initial practical stages of being rolled out.
If a groundswell of concerned citizens fails to materialize and find ways to exert a say in how this tech plays out, humans may find their autonomy—and natural humanness—forcibly relegated to history, and treated as an obsolete piece of organic hardware and software.
TRENDPOST: We have repeatedly called attention to how AI companies are plundering and monetizing the collective knowledge contributions of human creatives in a way and on a scale that no human creative can hope to match or compete with. (See, for example, “FALSE EQUIVALENCE: CHATGPT DOESN’T LEARN CONTENT LIKE HUMANS, AND CRIES OUT FOR NEW IP LAWS,” 21 Mar 2023.)
Concerning human and AI “symbiosis,” long before the present competition to integrate humans with a symbiosis of AI “copilots” and “personal agents,” became MSM news and reality, the Trends Journal did a deep-dive into the scale of the transhuman threat in “SINGULARITY UNIVERSITY: FUELING AI ASCENDANCE” (3 Aug 2021).
In that article, we warned:
It may seem astounding that the world’s leading AI innovators would consciously be dedicated to advancing AI technology with no bounds, while believing AI could and would displace or radically alter human beings. But a recent whitepaper available from SU’s homepage, called “The Exponential Guide to AI,” acknowledges exactly that.
Among other things, the Singularity envisions an interim period where “not only is AI likely to be integrated into nearly every electronic system—but also into nearly every person as well.”
The Exponential Guide to AI describes a future in which AI will be inescapable around us, embedded in virtually everything:
“Unlike the human brain, these intelligent programs can be run in a variety of different hardware types, whether that’s your smartphone, a warehouse of web servers, or a self-driving Tesla.
“This variety of use cases is what often makes AI so difficult to understand, but it’s also what makes it so powerful. The ability to add an AI layer on to nearly every technology means that as AI progresses, the world around us will increasingly seem to come alive. This ‘awakening’ will drastically alter life as we know it, from leisure and business activities to our health and spirituality.”
At the same time SU is aggressively pushing and monetizing the pervasive presence and abilities of AI, it is frankly acknowledging the fast approaching superiority of AI, compared with humans:
“What makes AI remarkable is the speed, accuracy, and endurance it brings to this human-like learning process. Humans have to eat, sleep, and tend to a variety of personal needs. We are also creatures of comfort, and quite stubborn—too much change makes us uncomfortable. And when presented with new information and experiences, humans tend to let our biases sway us from making the most reasonable and logical decisions.”
AI is an intrinsically transhuman technology, and the odds that it will be used to diminish instead of enhancing natural humans—especially if left to a cabal of elites—are high, indeed.