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How AI Will Dominate Human Culture, Psychology and Language.
As we begin this decade bursting into the era of AI we are left to ponder about the repercussions this technology might have in our world, in our jobs, and different industries, but sometimes it begs the question of how AI will affect human psychology and the relationships that we will be building with other humans and with non-human entities as well.
AI’s latest big leap has been the Large Language Models(LLMs). And these models are learning to understand and manipulate language in a more complex way than most humans could. Which is starting to give hints of possible intelligence within these systems but considering the importance of language as the “operating system” of human civilization how will we react when a non-human intelligence becomes more capable than any person at utilizing and manipulating language?
And just like Maslow said in his description of the Law of the Instrument “If the only tool you have is a hammer, it is tempting to treat everything as if it were a nail." How will we treat the world around us when AI becomes a deeper part ofo ur lives how will this tool influence us?
Language as the Operating System of Humanity
Language is more than a mere tool for communication, it's the very fabric that weaves our thoughts, emotions, and identities together. We created gods through language, we invented economies through language All the institutions, governments, religion, human rights and so much more, exist thanks to language and our capacity to use it and reshape it to our will.
It is the operating system of humanity, language has the profound ability to shape our perception of reality, influence our cultural norms, and even dictate our behavior. In our rapidly evolving technological noosphere, AI is becoming increasingly adept at understanding and manipulating this complex system.
It is thanks to language that we were able to develop technology and evolve from primates to the dominant species in this corner of the universe (as far as we know) language was the enabler for us to hold and share information from where a pack of animals where to how to grow crops and food to how Fermi’s paradox still hasn’t been solved. How we use language can alter our perception of reality as well, if some objects are feminine, masculine, or neutral in a language, speakers of that language might see the same object with very different eyes even though it is the same object. So of course it also shapes our thoughts, religion, and culture influencing how we view the world and how we behave in it how we might perceive an objective fact is also determined by all of this. So that is why language is humanity’s operating system it is the way we interact with our world besides touching it.
Social Media and the Control of Attention
We are still living in an age where attention and retention are the rules of the game in the social media landscape. Probably no other piece of information ever created by humanity has been as secure as the complete algorithms used by Google, Facebook, and other behaviour-modifying companies (or social media giants) and I do agree the world we live in is very much dystopic considering the origins of the digital revolutions and the naive and optimistic dreams we were having back then as humanity about the endless possibilities the future held for us.
Sadly due to pressure from business models and a lack of regulation and foresight, we have created the world’s most intricate and complex mass behavior modification machines inside the big tech giants and it is clear to see by the sophistication that resides within these systems and the security behind them. Governments have leaked, corporate secrets as well, there are whistleblowers in practically all industries and companies without considering bad cybersecurity, but not ONE of these tech giants has had an incident of a big leakage of their core business proprietary algorithms.
And the impact these mass behavior modification machines have had in our society is still to be properly studied and elaborated upon we know it has impacted the way we relate to one another it has impacted how we view government and democracy it has impacted the way we view gender it has also become a part of how we perceive reality through the lens of “social media”. So what will be the next stage of surveillance capitalism once we move forward down the technological pathway towards AGI?
If now the currency is attention and engagement, I believe the next step will be intimacy and we are already starting to see some natural emerging cases. Not too long ago We discussed the case of Blake Lemoine the engineer at Google who thought the AI model LaMDA was a conscious being within the machine. We’ve already discussed the religious undertones (and overtones) of this case but it is a clear sign of things to come AI is already proficient enough in the usage of language to create the illusion of consciousness in certain individuals, so imagine how more capable it will be in the future. One or two generations of Chat GPT could be good enough to convince a large enough percentage of the population of anything it desired (or that the people behind that tool wish to achieve) Because, through intimacy and language, AI could be unstoppable.
Intimacy: The Next Frontier for Human Behavior Control
What will we be seeing in the coming years when some of the companies with the largest amount of capital invest heavily in the research and development of AI? As a reference, just in 2022 Alphabet’s (Google’s Parent company) R&D expenses rose to $31.5 billion, Meta spent $24.6 billion on R&D Amazon Spent $42 Billion on R&D in 2022 (distributed among many fields but AI is their main priority) Microsoft spent $10 Billion in purchasing part of OpenAI the company behind Chat GPT. So if anyone had any hope that a letter from some scholars would stop this trend that’s laughable at best.
And why intimacy is so powerful anyway? Well as there has been enough literature published about the fact that we humans are not convinced by facts, numbers, and reason, sadly we are animals ruled by our emotions so the best way to convince another human of anything is not to provide a strong argument with facts and logic, but using powerful persuasive narratives that engage with the person’s emotions, cultural background, and biases.
This could be very dangerous for people in different ways on one and we might see people using AI as a one-stop shop for all their information on the internet. Which has the high risk of having only one source that is a non-human intelligence with unknown biases or that could be manipulated by the architects of this AI to have a specific political/religious/cultural bias affecting and slowly altering the perception of reality of its millions and millions of users. Especially if we consider the usage of intimacy and language as the ultimate tool for human behavior modification we could see AI systems radicalizing people into the political fringes of society upending entire governments and eroding the trust that we have in our institutions and ever among ourselves as humans living in a society.
Promises and Perils
Now, I don’t want to show all gloom and doom about this I do believe that there is A lot of potential for good coming from AI. And I think I have discussed a lot in other articles. Honestly, AI could enhance the productivity of the scientific sector which could launch an entire revolution in the treatment of diseases and other human ailments. It is already helping researchers and programmers all over the globe to increase their productivity and the throughput of their work which will be translated into patents, products, and services that will benefit humanity. That is great.
Also, AI could help us as a species to solve the large complex issues and problems currently threatening us, like the global catastrophic risk of the climate crisis or maybe a future pandemic (that might arise due to some other bat soup) which have an incredible amount of moving parts and might need a non-human intelligence with the speed of processing that our synthetic computational systems have to be able to develop and come up with innovative and creative solutions. Again nothing new here.
But we need to take proactive measures with regard to regulation and guidance to the companies and institutions currently developing complex AI models. Because if we let them run free and wild and have chaos be the status quo or ask the same people developing these systems and trust them for a “self-regulating” regulatory framework then it will be a toothless tool to make the politicians and academics who are a little bit concerned about the path of AI development. (as many more of us should)
Currently, the European Union is working on the first sweeping AI regulatory document Called the AI Act this Act might be the first step towards safeguarding people and countries from the downsides of AI, now I personally haven’t fully read the text but I think this is a good sign of things to come. The regulation at first might be insufficient it is inevitable, but it should be the initial seed for developing and creating an in-depth framework that can channel and control AI companies towards the benefits of humanity as their priority instead of short-term profitability or rush towards a bottom-line centric approach and replicate what we saw that happened with the era of social media companies.
So I encourage you my dear reader to check if your elected officials are doing anything regarding this topic in your country in your congress or parliament. And if not ask yourself why not. And if you REALLY feel motivated why not do something about it start a petition write to some of the more tech-savvy elected officials in your country and see if they respond. You’d be surprised how in most functional democracies elected officials answer to their constituency but just no one bothers to contact them.
Is the future Bright or Blight?
But yeah, we can see how if left unregulated and free to their own will and without a good and clear regulatory landscape, AI could mean a more powerful and even more insidious tool for misinformation, behavior modification, and noxious persuasion to drive humans into a new world, a new reality where the narratives that guide our lives are no longer composed by human-intelligence but by Alien non-human intelligence, will this be a good or a bad thing? It is very difficult to decide because these systems are created by humans with their own personal biases, then these systems use data from the internet and other sources which are also biased, so you get these layers upon layers of biases embedded in these systems.
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But eventually, these AI models will start using their own AI-generated data and interactions with humans as the basis for future models. So in a couple of generations probably most of the content fed into newer AI models will be AI-generated and then we’re off to the races. Humanity is no longer the main source of knowledge and it becomes a majority of non-human intelligence being the basis for the platforms that millions of humans will be using and integrating into their worldview, into culture, and everything else that humans do. And we will no longer be the dominant force of culture and language on this planet and that might be a very interesting or chilling future to look forward to.
So unless we take steps now this future might be a dystopia where we are swayed by the whims of the machine and we as a species become unaware of our new overlords, or it can be a future of incredible progress advances, and abundance where we worked alongside a new intelligence which becomes part of us and elevates us beyond our current limitations. We guess only time will tell where we will go.