Human misintelligence has worse consequences than artificial intelligence
Neither will the planet explode into a thousand pieces, nor will it collapse into a grim destiny manipulated by machines, nor will human beings self-destruct after turning on the robot that will eventually replace them. None of this will happen as a consequence of the acceleration of artificial intelligence.
Since long ago, every advance in technology has been one more contribution to the end of the world funding, an attitude that reveals our ability to build solutions that improve our life quality and outline catastrophic theories at the same time.
I will not deny that I have thought this at some point. The evidence is in front of us with an accelerated and practically irreversible climate change, a maelstrom of new technologies with more and more abilities, added to the traditional economies and policies that are getting weakened in the presence of disruptive proposals.
Everything is happening at such a devastating speed that it leaves us with only two options: to let ourselves go, or to get on the board and surf wave after wave.
Instead of blocking the sun with our hands, or letting it pass, we have to face the issue directly, but with knowledge and best practices, in order to shape the future we want, and not leave everything to chance or to the greed of a few.
Being observers or listeners to the voices that warn or calm the danger of evolution is nothing more than the choice of one option: to let oneself be carried away by whatever they understand or agree with.
Instead, to surf wave after wave is to understand the new mindset demanded by the vertiginous evolution we are experiencing. Technological advancement and in particular AI are not going away or slowing down. Therefore, the smart thing to do is to embrace them, learn about them, adapt and incorporate them into our lives in an informed and, once again, intelligent way.
Those of us who are in the privileged position of being designers, creators and spreaders of technologies that improve work and life as we knew it, have a great task and therefore a great responsibility.
Releasing a very powerful tool to the market for the use of curious and legitimately interested people to feed and amplify it unchecked, is what I mean by “human misintelligence”. This is not the first time this has happened, and unfortunately I don’t see it will be the last.
It is clear that technology can help, but both at the beginning of the design of a solution, as well as during the process, human reasoning will be key to guide its use, regulate it and control it.
It is in this sense that I think of four keys to adopt exponential technologies such as artificial intelligence and familiarize ourselves with them to a degree that allows us to lose our fear of them, make them feel familiar and within our reach and, ultimately, make them part of our lives. These four keys are:
We agree that both academic programs and the ways in which they are taught already deserve an update.
Children are acquiring knowledge based on common sense, which is much more powerful than algorithms, and which we could empower by providing them with a tailor-made education; an education that, among other things, allows them to think in global models.
To work in education is to think ahead and in a committed way with the planet and with humanity, sowing an evolutionary conscience capable of accepting the technological advances that appear, integrating them into daily life in an intelligent way, and thinking of themselves as future creators, designers, regulators, enhancers of these technologies and not as simple uncritical users who ignore both their risks and their potentialities.
The current business generations are already aware of what is happening, some are conscious of the possible consequences of the new scenario, others prefer to continue with what they are used to and look the other way, but what is clear is that we are all going to be impacted and we have no choice but to learn to surf.
Without intending to be critical of the attitude that everyone chooses to take, preparing for a new exponential scenario requires responsible management, understanding the risks and recognizing the possible solutions.
Making intelligent decisions does not mean leaving technology aside or adopting trendy tools in the pursuit of efficiency without analyzing the consequences.
The new management will have the great challenge of, at the same time that we go through the digital transformation and the spread of artificial intelligence, initiating a human transformation that matches the development of our creative and managerial skills, in order to be up to the new technological challenge.
None of this will be possible if it is not supported by a State that is much more present with political and economic decisions in line with the era we are living in. I would say, even more so, to the days we are living in because of the speed in which things are changing.
It is possible that some exponential technologies still appear to be ephemeral trends and that, because of this belief, cross-cutting decisions are not being made, but these traditional structures will certainly not be able to be sustained for much longer.
In principle, by demanding the real application of ESG criteria, such as environmental, social and corporate governance measures, in order to encourage technological development to make a real contribution to human life and sustainability. The course of AI in recent months has made it clear that if left to individual criteria, commercialism, ambition and the supremacy of the boldest will prevail.
Weighing what is relevant
Contrary to what we said at the beginning about the “human unintelligence”, to weigh what is relevant is to channel the path of the streams that come out of the ocean to take advantage of those waves, the ones we are surfing.
To use the strength of the creations and developments that we, as humanity, have given ourselves to solve the problems that we, as humanity, have also created. What is relevant is, without a doubt, all that relates to health, ecology, equity and people’s life quality.
Using exponential technology to increase opportunities, to solve difficult problems such as climate change, renewable energies, the problem of garbage and pollution, inequalities at all levels, feeding the growing world population, etc. etc. We will find infinite challenges to solve. That states, public agencies, and all relevant social actors, begin to take advantage of these new and powerful tools in this sense is to evolve, is to start making decisions with common sense.
These four keys read faster than they can be put into practice, but they should be printed as a matter of urgency, rather than fear and any other paralyzing manifestation.
What is the point of trying to win a race to technological development? As limited beings that we are, we have lost that competition. But as in the martial arts, it is not about slowing down a force that is surely going to knock us down, it is about learning to move to change its direction and use it to our advantage.
In my opinion, that is the great opportunity we have today with artificial intelligence; but the time is today, we must act with haste and determination. If not for ourselves, then for the generations to come and for a future in which we can turn things around and leave the world a little better than we have found it.