Elaborating on the Need for Futuristic Thinkers - Deepstash
Elaborating on the Need for Futuristic Thinkers

Elaborating on the Need for Futuristic Thinkers

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Elaborating on the Need for Futuristic Thinkers

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Justin E. H. Smith

“Some of us continue to have old-fashioned careers in the twenty-first century— we are doctors, professors, lawyers, and truck drivers. Yet the main economy is now driven not by what we do, but by the information extracted from us, not by our labor in any established sense, but by our data.”

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Yuval Noah Harari

“In the past, humans had to struggle against exploitation. In the 21st century, the really big struggle will be against irrelevance. It is much worse to be irrelevant than to be exploited. Those who fail in the struggle against irrelevance will constitute a new useless class.”

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According to Harari, three challenges will arise from the AI revolution.

  1. A new useless class: A new cast for employees who fall behind the technological development as their hard-earned skills are replaced by automation.
  2. Data colonialism: Technological inequality. Automation in highly developed countries can replace low-wage labour in developing countries.
  3. Digital dictatorships: Governments and companies with access to information about our personality types, political views, religious beliefs, preferences, fears and desires can monitor everyone and predict and manipulate our behaviour.

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On a smaller scale, we increasingly entrust our decision-making abilities and authority to algorithms and algorithmic recommendation systems. For example, billions of people rely on the Facebook algorithm to tell us what is new, Netflix to tell us what to watch, or Google to tell us what is true.

Algorithmic systems decide if we are suited for a job, if we are eligible for a loan, how our money should be invested, or who would be a suitable partner on Tinder. Yet, we have no insights into how these decisions are made, nor do we understand the machine's reasoning.

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GDPR - General Data Protection Regulation

The GDPR is a paper tiger. It offers no meaningful protection for individuals against automated decisions.

Even if a decision is needed for entering into a contract or an individual has given their explicit consent, it is often impossible for the individual, the business owner, or the developers of an advanced AI system to understand or explain the processes behind how a decision was reached.

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The paper tiger protection

  • The Data Protection Commission of Luxembourg imposed a €746 Million fine on Amazon related to Amazon’s use of customer data for targeted advertising.
  • The Irish Data Protection fined WhatsApp €225 Million for unclear privacy policies and lack of transparency in how it handles user data.
  • The French data authority fined Google €150 Million and Facebook Ireland Limited €90 Million for failing to provide a simple method for users to opt out of tracking cookies.

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The exponential technological growth has raised living standards, comfort and convenience.

The growth continues, perhaps even outpacing Moor's law, which states that the number of transistors would roughly double every two years.

The exponential growth of technology is not limited to computer chips. Within decades AI systems will likely outcompete humans in any intellectual field, including tasks previously considered safe such as researching, philosophising, judicial reviewing, diagnosing, and financial analysing.

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Technocapitalism, the Internet, and Web 3.0

Technocapitalism, capitalism boosted by AI systems and other modern technologies, is increasing the gap between the rich and the poor. For example, American billionaires gained $2 trillion during the corona pandemic while parents in Afghanistan sell their kidneys to feed their starving children in the current food crisis.

Today's internet seems designed to distract us with attention-grabbing and fake content that is generated by algorithms.

The Web 3.0 movement is inspired by the Bitcoin philosophy, but the same system could be used to disrupt geography by forming new countries.

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Key public decision-makers should not be oblivious to the scope and the scale of the technological disruption staring us in the face.

Radically new ideas from people who think outside the box and outdated protocols should be listened to regulate the current state of affairs and address the challenges and opportunities of the post-internet era.

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