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Now for something completely different. We have been under a steadily growing wave of stories featuring concern on the threats of AI. These concerns are centered around the automation of jobs on one side and the death of Homo sapiens on the other. In between are a range of common stories on the wonders of big data to the complete loss of privacy to big data.We might as well throw in the stories on the amazing potential of cryptocurrency and blockchain including the complete stupidity of people who get into cryptocurrencies because they are nothing but a ponzi scheme. All of this, of course, falls under the heading of computer stuff that immediately causes a majority of the US population to stop listening and a smaller subset of those to stop reading.

The job loss part excites concern but that has been overlaid with a great deal of bullshit blaming Mexicans, China, or some generic middle eastern people for the losses. That’s easy to understand so why mess with that strange tech stuff made up by a bunch of people who are all atheist and probably voted for Obama anyway. Honest working people don’t have time for that bullshit. So sounds the death chorus for the American century and maybe all of us. The point is that none of this stuff hangs together in way that makes sense and no one has even a hint of a solution.

So there is no point going on with yet another attempt to explain the potentials and the dangers and quoting very famous intellectual people saying we’re all going to be dead because of it, whatever it is. Hey, we’re all going to be dead anyway so screw that. That seems to be about where we are. And another attempt to explain bitcoin by stating complete gibberish is not going to change anything.

Here is an excellent, short, plain language explanation of the problems with AI:

Now that we have that out of the way let’s look at the real issues.The thing that is driving AI at such a furious rate is power and profit. Those are the only things that count in our present world. Everything else is decoration or time wasters. We know this but nothing can be done about it because the people is charge, no matter how stupid, have the power and their only reason for being is power and profit.

The only suggestions for dealing with this frightening AI problem is trying to get people, organizations, and governments to agree to new ethical standards for AI development. Right. When is the last time you heard the word “ethics” without a punchline and laugh? We don’t do ethics. At least not in the American world. This is a classic case of barking up the wrong tree.

If you take a look at the problem that will cause AI to destroy us the scariest are simply AI figuring a better way to make more money. An unanticipated side effect of that improvement would kill a large number of people and start a war that will boost production and profits for the organization using the AI system. Profit is the greatest good, make more profit. And that is with no evil intent but doing what our organizations are designed to do.

Now add in a little evil. You can visualize any of a number of people from the just re-jailed youngish scum who tried to gouge money from critical medical devices that he got control of to Trump, for that matter, who owes almost everything to conning, stealing, or suing his way to wealth and power. For them a few thousand deaths, purely accidental, mind you, is just a PR problem that will be part of the cost center.

Having all the scientists committed to ethical controls to prevent this will help but it has never stopped the evil ones from finding a way to blackmail, threaten, or just buy delivery of what they want. And superheroes are fictional.

But there, perhaps, we have the answer. Maybe we found the tree that is worth barking at. That is the tree where profit is hiding. It needs to be brought down and caged or killed. Without profit as the single and overriding goal of our society we can consider alternatives such as human and planetary well being. And no “communism” straw men. We’re talking about replacing profit with a more balanced goal of a good life for everyone as a basis for all competition and achievement.

This is not bizarre or unheard of in the world. For the badly distorted world of the US at this stage of its history it might appear that way but there are a number of countries that are giving it a fair shot. Everywhere from Denmark to Nepal. There is no silver bullet but there are growing range of possible changes to human society that can begin to deliver on a new objective of well being, sustainability, and happiness.

And here is another article that discusses that:

AI can deliver this. But it must be pointed in the right direction. Pointing it exclusively at profit and greed and power will make “ethics” powerless to stop the way it develops. Change the goals and the problem becomes manageable. It doesn’t go away as we have a tremendous amount to learn and human characteristic it adapt in new way but it becomes a higher potential if we are not driven purely by greed. AI can help us identify the people who are prone to greed. Balancing this reduces the risks and gives us a better chance of surviving.

Please understand that we are very nearly totally screwed at this point. There do not appear to be any options on the path that this country and many other are on. The US lead the world on this path. Our last act should be to change that path to one that can help us all survive.

Educator, CIO, retired entrepreneur, grandfather with occasional fits of humor in the midst of disaster. . .

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