Thursday, June 14

An Existentialist question on the future of technology

It would be interesting to imagine how the various philosophers of that era proposed how one should dealt with some of the contemporary problems of today. One question that comes to mind is: 

Does the progression of artificial intelligence and robotics endanger our freedom and ultimately the ability to make wise choices to sustain our existence as highlighted by the late Stephen Hawking?

To reiterate, as  per my previous post, Kierkegaard’s call was to reject doctrinal imposition at that time. He talked about different types of choices we can make such as ethical, religious or aesthetic. He suggests we need to confront our anxieties head on. This in turn will enhance our self-awareness and personal responsibility. Kierkegaard was the forerunner to usher in a more human response to existence and freedom from the yoke of predetermined doctrines based on abstract values.
In a similar manner he may have asked us to confront our fears and ensure the technology only advanced as far as it allowed for various choices and the even possibly the option to opt out.
Nietzsche contended society was on the verge of nihilism; existential nihilism argues the case that life is without objective meaning, purpose, or intrinsic value. The subsequent horror of war and mass extermination proved his prophecy (assuming you allow for the flexibility to call it that) correct. His ideas were never fully realized as his work was unfairly discredited by a sister incorrectly ascribed his ideas as supporting the Nazi regime.  I think Nietzsche would have scoffed at the idea of artificial intelligence taking over as he championed the idea of being of sufficient strength to create one’s own values.

Could Nietzsche’s philosophy be applied to overcome the current fears about artificial intelligence? How can we reverse the idea of becoming slaves to technology and instead become its master?   

Like Kierkegaard Jean-Paul Sartre contended individuals become more aware of their potential as human beings as they experience anxiety; that involves a realization of one's true identity and freedoms.
Sartre's ideal of an authentic existence incorporated both historical and political underpinnings; as for instance he entertained an uneasy tension even with the idea of Marxism.

There is no escaping the conclusion the imposition of values is what is missing from the architects of two days technology. This is essential if we are to survive and prosper rather than fall slaves of technology.


Tom said...

I would suggest that the "imposition of values" [non-egoistic values, that is] is what is missing from most human endeavours.

Lindsay Byrnes said...

Hi Tom,
I think you might also agree with me, in our respective countries, there are many common values and principles which unite us just as egos and the corrupting forces exist alongside those aspirational values. But I think the position with Artificial Intelligence, is it has the capacity to merge with our own consciousness so that you could end up with the frightening concept of humanity represented by trillions of downloaded souls.
So we have a choice to make about the future and how we progress if we want to strive to make a better future world for our grandchildren.
Paradoxically the growth of AI might hopefully engender a return to those essential values as one seeks to incorporate ethics and freedom into technological outcomes. That could prompts a rethink to society at large, as we see the ugly side to our face in the mirrored image from technology be virtue of our own creation.
best wishes