If We Don’t Master A.I., It Will Master Us

Yuval Harari, Tristan Harris and at the New York Times:

The specter of being trapped in a world of illusions has haunted humankind much longer than the specter of A.I. Soon we will finally come face to face with Descartes’s demon, with Plato’s cave, with the Buddhist Maya. A curtain of illusions could descend over the whole of humanity, and we might never again be able to tear that curtain away — or even realize it is there.

Social media was the “first contact” between A.I. and humanity, and humanity lost. “First contact” has given us the bitter taste of things to come. In social media, primitive A.I. was used not to create content, but to curate user-generated content. The A.I. behind our news feeds is still choosing which words, sounds and images reach our retinas and eardrums, based on selecting those that will get the most virality, the most reaction, and the most engagement.

more here. (PS, I happen, personally, to think much of the thinking in this opinion piece is misguided. Nonetheless, it is completely amazing that an Opinion piece containing the sentence “We have summoned an alien intelligence” is being published in The New York Times.)