Computers can tell stories but they’re always stories that humans have input into a computer, which are then just being regurgitated. But they don’t make stories up on their own. They don’t really understand the stories that we tell. They’re not kind of aware of the cultural importance of stories. They can’t watch the same movies or read the same books we do. And this seems like this huge missing gap between what computers can do and humans can do if you think about how important storytelling is to the human condition.
Some of the long-term challenges are very hypothetical—we don’t really know if they will ever materialize in this way. But in the short term I think AI poses some regulatory challenges for society.
We have basically lost control over our network. All of the advances that have made our lives more productive, more accessible, more connected, have fundamentally disintermediated our ability to protect our environments. The democratization of information, of technology, of goods and services, of banking, of financial transactions with blockchain etc., means every aspect of our lives has become accessible and therefore vulnerable.
The culture gap at the center of the debate we’re having today is a culture gap between people who build hardware and people who build software. And those cultures have been diverging since the 1950s.
The best justification we have for killing fifty-six, fifty-seven, whatever billion land animals and a trillion sea animals every year is that they taste good. And so, in a sense how is this any different from Michael Vick, who likes to sit around a pit watching dogs fight, or at least he used to?
In experimental archaeology, we could for instance try to make the kind of shoes that our hunter-gatherer ancestors might have had, and test how long they last in use.
But what if we are interested in completely different kinds of questions. Like, did they have rules for whom you’re allowed to have sex with? How did they raise their kids? We could always look at existing hunter-gatherer cultures and guess that the culture might have been similar. But could we attempt to test our hypotheses, someway?