Israeli historian Yuval Noah Harar
Yuval Noah Harar, the Israeli historian and author of “Sapiens,” is alarmed by the advancement of artificial intelligence (AI). For him, it is a dangerous challenger to the human mastery of storytelling. He is so concerned that last month he joined a letter signed by thousands of experts, including Elon Musk, calling for a moratorium on research into programs such as Chat GPT, an AI model capable of interacting with humans in texts. creative with almost disturbing nuances.
“This is a particularly serious threat to democracies, more than to authoritarian regimes, because democracies depend on public conversation,” Harari said in an interview published in the British media The Telegraph. “Democracy is basically conversation. People talking to each other. If AI takes over the conversation, democracy is over,” she stated.
Harari warns with amazement that “it is the first technology in history that creates stories.” And in his opinion, the collective belief in “stories” – of faith, finance and nation, among others – has fueled humanity’s dominance on Earth. Now AI has that power too, proving that the potential of technology for both good and evil, once considered distant and theoretical, is now immediate and real.
“It is that the new generation of AI is not limited to spreading the contents that humans produce. You can produce the content yourself. Try to imagine what it means to live in a world where most texts and melodies, and later TV series and images, are created by non-human intelligence. We just don’t understand what it means, what could be the consequences of AI taking over culture?” she alerts.
Harari suggests that AI will soon go much further, evoking a world where “you go online and have a discussion with someone about some political issue. They might even send you a video talking. But there is no person behind. It’s all AI.”
“If AI takes over the conversation, democracy is over,” warns Harari (Pexels)
In his dystopia, describes The Telegraph, the synthetic digital forgery would not be of any human being either. Since people close to you have the most influence, it could seem like a friend or relative trying to convince you of the benefits of a product or their position on climate change, vaccines or immigration. It would be, Harari says, a never-before-seen power to manipulate public discourse, and would make the social media influence scandals of the past 10 years, already believed to have played a role in elections from Brazil to United States, seem trivial.
The historian warns of the effect technology could have if it were maliciously unleashed on the battlefield by totalitarian regimes. “The Nazi regime was based on technologies like trains, electricity and radios. They didn’t have tools like artificial intelligence. A new regime in the 21st century will have much more powerful tools. So the consequences could be much more disastrous. It’s something I don’t know if humanity can survive.”
Frustrated that he feels that the world does not see the danger of AI like he does, he adds: “We have to understand that AI is the first technology in history that can make decisions for itself. You can make decisions about your own use. It can also make decisions about you and me. This is not a future prediction. This is already happening.”
He warns that power is shifting for the first time in history. “We have invented something that disempowers us. And it’s happening so fast that most people don’t even understand what’s happening. We have to make sure that the AI makes good decisions about our lives. This is something that we are a long way from solving.”
Viral photo of Pope Francis was created by artificial intelligence.
The Israeli historian advocates for the regulation of these tools and compares the need to establish standards to medical safeguards. “A pharmaceutical company cannot bring a new drug to market without first going through a lengthy regulatory process. It is really strange and scary that corporations can release extremely powerful AI tools into the public sphere without any similar security measures, ”he says indignantly.
Finally, he warns that it is the task of governments to procure these measures: “With all due respect to Elon Musk and Zuckerberg or the other heads of the big technology companies, they are not chosen by anyone, they do not represent anyone except their shareholders and they do not there is reason to trust them.”
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