The AI Revealed: Look Inside That Kimono and Behind It. Eeew!

July 9, 2024

green-dino_thumb_thumb_thumb_thumb_t_thumbThis essay is the work of a dumb dinobaby. No smart software required.

The Guardian article “AI scientist Ray Kurzweil: ‘We Are Going to Expand Intelligence a Millionfold by 2045’” is quite interesting for what it does not do: Flip the projection output by a Googler hired by Larry Page himself in 2012.


Putting toothpaste back in a tube is easier than dealing with the uneven consequences of new technology. What if rosy descriptions of the future are just marketing and making darned sure the top one percent remain in the top one percent? Thanks Chat GPT4o. Good enough illustration.

First, a bit of math. Humans have been doing big tech for centuries. And where are we? We are post-Covid. We have homelessness. We have numerous armed conflicts. We have income inequality in the US and a few other countries I have visited. We have a handful of big tech companies in the AI game which want to be God to use Mark Zuckerberg’s quaint observation. We have processed food. We have TikTok. We have systems which delight and entertain each day because of bad actors’ malware, wild and crazy education, and hybrid work with the fascinating phenomenon of coffee badging; that is, going to the office, getting a coffee, and then heading to the gym.

Second, the distance in earth years between 2024 and 2045 is 21 years. In the humanoid world, a 20 year old today will be 41 when the prediction arrives. Is that a long time? Not for me. I am 80, and I hope I am out of here by then.

Third, let’s look at the assertions in the write up.

One of the notable statements in my opinion is this one:

I’m really the only person that predicted the tremendous AI interest that we’re seeing today. In 1999 people thought that would take a century or more. I said 30 years and look what we have.

I like the quality of modesty and humblebrag. Googlers excel at both.

Another statement I circled is:

The Singularity, which is a metaphor borrowed from physics, will occur when we merge our brain with the cloud. We’re going to be a combination of our natural intelligence and our cybernetic intelligence and it’s all going to be rolled into one.

I like the idea that the energy consumption required to deliver this merging will be cheap and plentiful. Googlers do not worry about a power failure, the collapse of a dam due to the ministrations of the US Army Corps of Engineers and time, or dealing with the environmental consequences of producing and moving energy from Point A to Point B. If Google doesn’t worry, I don’t.

Here’s a quote from the article allegedly made by Mr. Singularity aka Ray Kurzweil:

I’ve been involved with trying to find the best way to move forward and I helped to develop the Asilomar AI Principles [a 2017 non-legally binding set of guidelines for responsible AI development]. We do have to be aware of the potential here and monitor what AI is doing.

I wonder if the Asilomar AI Principles are embedded in Google’s system recommending that one way to limit cheese on a pizza from sliding from the pizza to an undesirable location embraces these principles? Is the dispute between the “go fast” AI crowd and the “go slow” group not aware of the Asilomar AI Principles. If they are, perhaps the Principles are balderdash? Just asking, of course.

Okay, I think these points are sufficient for going back to my statements about processed food, wars, big companies in the AI game wanting to be “god” et al.

The trajectory of technology in the computer age has been a mixed bag of benefits and liabilities. In the next 21 years, will this report card with some As, some Bs, lots of Cs, some Ds, and the inevitable Fs be different? My view is that the winners with human expertise and the know how to make money will benefit. I think that the other humanoids may be in for a world of hurt. That’s the homelessness stuff, the being dumb when it comes to doing things like reading, writing, and arithmetic, and consuming chemicals or other “stuff” that parks the brain will persist.

The future of hooking the human to the cloud is perfect for some. Others may not have the resources to connect, a bit like farmers in North Dakota with no affordable or reliable Internet access. (Maybe Starlink-type services will rescue those with cash?)

Several observations are warranted:

  1. Technological “progress” has been and will continue to be a mixed bag. Sorry, Mr. Singularity. The top one percent surf on change. The other 99 percent are not slam dunk winners.
  2. The infrastructure issue is simply ignored, which is convenient. I mean if a person grew up with house servants, it is difficult to imagine not having people do what you tell them to do. (Could people without access find delight in becoming house servants to the one percent who thrive in 2045?)
  3. The extreme contention created by the deconstruction of shared values, norms, and conventions for social behavior is something that cannot be reconstructed with a cloud and human mind meld. Once toothpaste is out of the tube, one has a mess. One does not put the paste back in the tube. One blasts it away with a zap of Goo Gone. I wonder if that’s another omitted consequence of this super duper intelligence behavior: Get rid of those who don’t get with the program?

Net net: Googlers are a bit predictable when they predict the future. Oh, where’s the reference to online advertising?

Stephen E Arnold, July 9, 2024


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