Artificial intelligence warning: AI will know us better than we know ourselves

AI, the term which essentially allows robots to teach themselves, will go against all of western society’s ideologies and is a dream for a totalitarian, a leading scientist has warned. Governments which become armed with AI will be able to monitor its population fully and use algorithms to predict, and ultimately tell people, what they want.

Machine learning algorithms are already used by big tech companies, who can then sell this on to third parties.

When governments fully adopt this, it will be the end of western ideologies, according to Simon McCarthy-Jones, associate professor in clinical psychology and neuropsychology at Trinity College Dublin.

Mr McCarthy-Jones wrote: “Individualistic western societies are built on the idea that no one knows our thoughts, desires or joys better than we do.

“And so we put ourselves, rather than the government, in charge of our lives.

“We tend to agree with the philosopher Immanuel Kant’s claim that no one has the right to force their idea of the good life on us.

“AI will change this. It will know us better than we know ourselves. A government armed with AI could claim to know what its people truly want and what will really make them happy. At best it will use this to justify paternalism, at worst, totalitarianism.

“Every hell starts with a promise of heaven. AI-led totalitarianism will be no different. Freedom will become obedience to the state.

“Only the irrational, spiteful or subversive could wish to chose their own path.”

Mr McCarthy-Jones believes the best way to protect ourself from an AI-led totalitarian future is to not be so open about our private lives on social media.

This way, the scientist argues, machine learning algorithms will not be able to predict, and thus tell us, what we want.

He continued in The Conversation: “Today, AI can predict what films we will like, what news we will want to read, and who we will want to friend on Facebook. It can predict whether couples will stay together and if we will attempt suicide.

“From our Facebook likes, AI can predict our religious and political views, personality, intelligence, drug use and happiness.

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“The accuracy of AI’s predictions will only improve. In the not-too-distant future, as the writer Yuval Noah Harari has suggested, AI may tell us who we are before we ourselves know.

“We can only prevent such a dystopia if no one is allowed to know us better than we know ourselves.

“One way to prevent a self-knowledge gap is to raise our privacy shields.

“The problem is not AI improving our self-knowledge. The problem is a power disparity in what is known about us.

“Knowledge about us exclusively in someone else’s hands is power over us. But knowledge about us in our own hands is power for us.”

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