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MIT professor: Silicon Valley’s master plan is ‘grand replacement’ of humans because they are ‘imperfect machines’

THE Daron Acemogluhis economics professor MITin a very interesting interview on Spiegelagainst “techno-optimism” points out the dangers that the new era brings with the emergence of artificial intelligence and delves into the question of whether Silicon Valley is gradually plunging humanity into a dystopian future.

“The rich and powerful have conquered progress throughout history. They did it in the Middle Ages and also now in the age of artificial intelligence”says Daron Acemoglu, author, along with Simon Johnson, of the book “Power and Progress”in which he describes humanity’s struggle over thousands of years to control technology and distribute the wealth produced by it.

As he points out “the AI ​​debate is in the hands of naïve techno-optimism”. According to that narrative, “artificial intelligence is going to transform everything, and if there are some problems, some risks, they will be solved.” “When someone raises concerns about this claim, one of the main arguments is that this has happened in history, so why should this time be any different?”

“It is true that today’s prosperity is greater than in earlier times, but there is a tendency to believe that the path to get here was a simple and inevitable process. We ignore the difficulties that have arisen.”

“Let’s look at the example of medieval windmills, a technology that transformed society. It radically changed the organization of the textile industry, but mainly of agriculture. But the farmers did not see much improvement in the conditions of their daily life. Windmills were controlled by landowners and churches. A small elite collected the profits. They decided who could use windmills and killed the competition. At the same time, impressive cathedrals and churches were built across the continent. Up to 20% of the economic power produced was used to build them.

Today we see these buildings and find them very impressive, but they were amazingly expensive, especially for societies that were often struggling on the brink of survival and starvation. Cathedrals were built because a small elite wanted to show off their wealth. Their monuments are the counterparts of the Egyptian pyramids. Today, they give us a biased impression of that era. The sufferings of the farmers remain invisible.”

Asked if he thinks artificial intelligence will follow the same path, Daron Acemoglou emphasizes that it is certainly a promising technology, which with the right decisions could be surprisingly useful. “But then again there’s nothing automatic about it. We need to pay more attention. We need to think more about the institutional structure or we will fail to once again create shared prosperity.”

“Artificial intelligence can become very useful for affluent citizens, knowledge workers and highly skilled workers. But it’s not going to be good for most people on the current track.”he mentions and adds, citing the example of industrialization, that “people should be placed at the center of the technological process and not at the margins, as is the case today”.

The “Great Replacement” Plan

As the MIT economics professor argues, the popular thinking in Silicon Valley is that humans are “imperfect machines.” There is huge demand from tech companies for such theses, which argue that people are so prone to making mistakes, you can’t trust them for important tasksnotes and continues: “Ordinary people are untrustworthy, except of course for a few geniuses. So geniuses must design technologies to overcome these imperfect masses, very often by strictly monitoring workers or simply removing tasks from human employees.’

“Is the ultimate goal not to help people, but to completely replace them?” asks Daron Acemoglu, replying that “not everyone in Silicon Valley thinks this way,” but “it must be a very strong current” […] “With the right direction, technology and innovation can bring enormous benefits. But in fact, Google, Facebook and Microsoft were not friends of technology and innovation. They had competitors and they killed them».

Criticizing the politicians, who, wearing blinders and considering that the increase in inequality is either inevitable or acceptable in the name of progress, allow the phenomenon to develop, Daron Acemoglou underlines that if something does not change, a huge part of the active population will find itself in the margin, “our future will be very dystopian.” “This would create a completely two-tiered society. We must do everything in our power to avoid it.”

Source: News Beast

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