Sigh, More Doom and Gloom about Smart Software

November 20, 2023

green-dino_thumb_thumbThis essay is the work of a dumb humanoid. No smart software required.

Hey, the automatic popcorn function works in your microwave, right? That’s a form of smart software. But that’s okay. The embedding of AI in a personnel review is less benign. Letting AI develop a bio-weapon system is definitely bad. Sci fi or real life?


An AI researcher explains to her colleagues that smart software will destroy their careers, ruin their children’s lives, and destroy the known universe. The colleagues are terrified except for those consulting for firms engaged in the development and productization of AI products and services. Thanks, Microsoft Bing. You have the hair of a scientist figured out.

I read “AI Should Be Better Understood and Managed — New Research Warns.” The main idea is, according to the handy dandy summary which may have been generated by an AI system recounts the journey to this “warning”:

Artificial Intelligence (AI) and algorithms can and are being used to radicalize, polarize, and spread racism and political instability, says an academic. An expert argues that AI and algorithms are not just tools deployed by national security agencies to prevent malicious activity online, but can be contributors to polarization, radicalism and political violence — posing a threat to national security.

Who knew? I wonder if the developers in China, Iran, North Korea, and any other members of the “axis of evil” are paying attention to the threats of smart software, developing with and using the technologies, and following along with the warnings of Western Europeans? My hunch is that the answer is, “Are you kidding?”

I noted this statement in the paper:

“This lack of trust in machines, the fears associated with them, and their association with biological, nuclear and genetic threats to humankind has contributed to a desire on the part of governments and national security agencies to influence the development of the technology, to mitigate risk and (in some cases) to harness its positive potentiality,” writes Professor Burton.

I assume the author includes “all” of earth’s governments. Now that strikes me as a somewhat challenging task. Exactly what coordinating group will undertake the job? A group of academics in the EU? Some whiz kids at Google or OpenAI? How about the US Congress?


Gentle reader, the AI cat is out of the bag, and I am growing less responsive to the fear mongering.

Stephen E Arnold, November 20, 2023


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