I saw Mission Impossible: Dead Reckoning, Part One yesterday. In the film, AI is the antagonist. One of the primary threats discussed throughout is the ability for conflict and chaos to be created and sustained through the manipulation of information.
This is an apt film for the times in which we live where many people’s capacity to discern what is true and false, what is a fact or an opinion, what is credible or non-credible is virtually non-existent. Ideas have consequences and erroneous ideas can have grave ones. This is especially so as we hurtle towards a future where scientific and political literacy become ever more important in order to make sense of a rapidly changing world.
There was a report on Marketplace yesterday that included a statement from an executive at OpenAI, the developer of ChatGPT. He said that AI will help companies to improve efficiency. He added that it will also cost jobs.
From a policy standpoint, how will governments address the sudden obsolescence of workers from industries so affected? You may recall that many workers who were displaced by deindustrialization and globalization never fully recovered, to say nothing of local and regional economies.
Also, and perhaps more urgently, in an age of increasing political polarization, where politicians present themselves as proto- and neo-fascists, does not such economic dislocation serve as fertile ground for insurrectionary sentiments? While these new technologies may represent a boon for corporations, they could also produce profound instability in society as a whole.