‘It’s worse than you think’: a famous historian called the 5 main dangers of future technologies

Quotes from the speech of the famous historian Yuval Noah Harari in Davos leads the “New Time”.

'Там хуже, чем вы думаете': известный историк назвал 5 главных опасностей технологий будущего

Photo: Depositphotos

World order is now similar to the house in which they live, but no one fixes it. He can hold out for another few years, but if we continue in the same spirit, then back in the “jungle”.

In the third decade of the 21st century, humanity is faced with so many problems and issues that now it’s hard to focus. I want to draw attention to the problems that threaten the survival of our species. It is nuclear war, environmental collapse, and a technological breakthrough. Nuclear war and environmental collapse — the familiar threat, so let me explain what is less known to us, the threat of a technological breakthrough. We hear so much about the benefits of future technologies, and this is certainly true, but they can also unbalance the human society and change the very meaning of human life in different ways — from the creation of a world class useless before the emergence of colonialism and the digital data of the dictatorship.

1. Useless class

First, we may encounter turbulence on social and economic levels. Automation will destroy millions of jobs, and even new jobs will certainly be created, it is unknown whether people will be able to acquire the necessary knowledge and skills on time.

For example, you 50-year-old truck driver who lost their jobs due to automated control. There are options for a new job is to create software, for example, or engineers to teach yoga. But as 50-year-old driver of the truck will create themselves anew as a software developer or a yoga teacher? And people would have to do it not once, but again and again throughout life, since the automation revolution is not a one-time event, after which the labor market will settle down and return to balance.

Most likely, we will cascade all the big changes, if we consider that artificial intelligence has not nearly my full potential. Jobs will disappear, there will be new, but then this work will change and disappear. If earlier people fought against exploitation in the 21st century will be to really deal with uselessness. And much worse to be unnecessary, than the exploited. The losers in this fight will join the ranks of the useless class. These people will be useless, of course, not in front of family and friends, and from the point of view of economic and political system. Useless class will be separated by a growing gap from the increasingly powerful elite.

2. Inequality and colony data

The revolution of artificial intelligence (AI) could cause unprecedented inequality not only between classes but also between countries. In the 19th century, several countries such as UK and Japan, industrialized first, which allowed them to conquer and exploit other countries. If we are careless, it’s waiting for us in the 21st century thanks to the AI.

Humanity is in the midst of an arms race in the field of AI, which occupy leading positions of the US and China, and most countries are lagging far behind. If we do not take measures to spread the benefits and power of AI between us, he is likely to bring mad riches and several technological centres, while other countries will go bankrupt and turn into an exploited colony data.

It’s not about scripts, descended from the pages of science fiction, where robots rebel against humans. We are talking about much more primitive AI, which is still enough to disturb the world balance.

Just think what will happen to the economies of developing countries, if in California it would be cheaper to produce tissue or cars than in Mexico. And what will happen to politics in your country, if in 20 years someone in San Francisco or Beijing will be aware of the entire medical and personal history of every politician, judge and journalist, including all love Affairs, psychological weakness and corruption. Is that the country is independent or it will become a colony of the data? When you have enough data, you don’t have somewhere to send soldiers to control the country.

3. Digital dictatorship

The next threat we may face is the blossoming of digital dictatorship, tirelessly watching every. This threat can be stated in a simple formula, in my opinion, defining life in the 21st century: B x h x D=VHC. In her “B” means biological knowledge In computational power, “D” — data. The result of multiplication is “WHO” — the ability to hack the humanity. If you have enough knowledge in biology, computing power and data, you will be able to hack my body, brain and the rest of my life, you will know me better than I know myself. You will be able to know my personality type, my political views, sexual preferences, weakness in my psyche, the deepest fears and hopes.

A system that understands us more than we can predict our feelings, decisions and to make decisions for us. Many tyrants and governments of the past have dreamed of this, but they lacked the aforementioned knowledge, capacities and data to hack into millions of people. It was neither the Gestapo nor the KGB. But soon some corporations and governments will be able to systematically hack the humanity.

It’s time to get used to the idea that we no longer mysterious soul, and animals that can be hacked. The ability to hack people, of course, can be used for good, for example, in health care. But if this power falls into the hands of Stalin the 21 century and the world has enough of those who wants to try this role — the result will be the worst totalitarian regime in human history. Just imagine North Korea after 20 years, in which all will be forced to carry biometric bracelet that constantly monitors blood pressure, pulse, brain activity. If listening to the speech of the great leader you are angry, but smiling and applauding — the power to be aware of it and can send you into a kind of GULAG the next morning.

If such regimes of total surveillance will exist, do not think that someone will remain safe. The power of the Soviet Union in the Stalinist period followed the Communist elite more than anyone. Future regimes of total control will be similar — the higher your position in the hierarchy, the more you are being followed. Do you want your CEO or the President know what you really think about them? Therefore, all of humanity, including the elite, is interested in preventing the occurrence of such digital dictatorships. […]

Even if we manage to prevent digital dictatorships, the ability to hack people to change the very concept of human freedom. The more we rely on AI in decision-making, the more power shifts to the algorithms.

'Там хуже, чем вы думаете': известный историк назвал 5 главных опасностей технологий будущего

Photo: a video frame YouTube/Yuval Noah Harari

This is already happening: today billions know about your news from Facebook, believe in the authenticity of the information that was brought to the Google algorithm. Now Netflix decides what you’ll look and the algorithms of Amazon and Alibaba/Aliexpress buy that. In the near future, similar algorithms may choose for your job or partner, if the loan and raise the Central Bank interest rate. And if you ask, why do not you give credit or why the Bank has not raised interest rate, the answer is the same: “Computer said no”. As a limited human brain does not have enough knowledge, computing power and data, people just can’t understand the decisions of the computer.

Even so, it would seem that in a free country, people will lose control over their own lives and cease to understand public policy. Even today, the financial system understand about 1% of people. In a few decades this percentage will be zero.

4. Philosophical crisis

We humans used to think about life, about the drama of decision-making. What will become of the value of human life, if most of the decisions will make the algorithms. We don’t even have philosophical models for understanding this existence!

The usual dispute between the philosophers and politicians used to look like this: philosophers share a lot of fantastic ideas, and policies in response patiently explained that in order to bring these ideas to life, they do not have enough funds. Now we’re in the opposite situation, we are on the threshold of philosophical bankruptcy. Revolution-Gemini — info – and biotechnologies — presented to politicians and businessmen the ability to create heaven or hell, and the philosophy it is difficult to conceptualize how the new heaven or hell will look like, and this is a very dangerous situation.

If we fail to comprehend the idea of a new Paradise on time, we can easily mislead the naive utopias. And if we fail to conceptualize new ad — we can be trapped in it without any possibility of escape.

5. Intelligent design

In the decades ahead, the technology can not only change the Economics, politics and philosophy, but biology. AI and biotechnology will give us godlike capabilities, we can even create brand new forms of life. After 4 billion years of the formation of organic life through natural selection, we found ourselves on the threshold of a new era, where inorganic life formed by intelligent design. Our intelligent design will become the new driving force of evolution.

Therefore, using the new godlike powers of creation, we can make mistakes Ecumenical level. Perhaps governments and corporations will use technology to strengthen the necessary human skills such as intelligence and discipline, at the same time ignoring other human skills such as compassion, artistic sensitivity, and spirituality. The result can be a race very smart and very disciplined people who will not miss the empathy, the ability to create and spiritual depth.

Of course, this is not prophecy, but simply what can happen. The use of technology in any case is not predetermined. In the 20th century, people used the technology of the industrial revolution to build a very different society, a fascist dictatorship, communism, liberal democracy — the same thing will happen in the 21st century. AI and biotechnology, will surely change the world, but we can use them to create a very different society.

World cooperation. If you’re afraid of something of what I told you to do something, but for something truly effective we need global cooperation.

All three existential challenges we faced is a global problems that require global solutions. When any leader says, “My country first”, we have to remind the leader that the country will not be able to prevent nuclear war or to stop environmental collapse. And no country can regulate the activities of AI and bioengineering on their own. Any country can say “Hey, we don’t want to develop killer robots or engage in genetic engineering babies, we are good! But not our enemies, they can’t be trusted, maybe they will do it, so we’ll do it first.” If we let this arms race to go in areas like AI and bioengineering, it does not matter who wins, because the loser will be humanity.

Unfortunately, at a time when global cooperation is needed more than ever, some of the most powerful countries and world leaders who specifically oppose this. Leaders like U.S. President Donald trump telling us that between nationalism and globalism, there is an inherent contradiction, therefore, we must choose nationalism, but it is a dangerous mistake! There is no contradiction between nationalism and globalization because nationalism is not about hating foreigners. Nationalism is about love for their fellow citizens, and in the 21st century, to protect the safety of their fellow citizens, it is necessary to cooperate with foreigners.

A good nationalist of the 21st century must be a globalist. Globalism is not the creation of a global government, a rejection of all national traditions or the opening of borders for endless migrants. Globalism is obedience to some global rules. Rules that do not deny the uniqueness of each people, but only govern the relationship between them. And a good model is the world Cup. It’s a competition between countries, where people are vehemently rooting for their national team, but at the same time, this stunning example of world harmony. France may not play in the match against Croatia, if the country does not agree with the same rules of the game. This is globalism in action, if you like the world Cup — you’re a globalist.

I hope that countries can come to common rules not only in football but also in how to prevent environmental collapse, to regulate dangerous technology, and reduce global inequality. It is important to ensure that an AI is of benefit to the workers of the textile industry in Mexico, not only American software developers. Of course, this is much harder than football, but not impossible, because impossible, we have already achieved. We have already got out of the dangerous jungle in which they lived our history.

The law “of the jungle.” For thousands of years, people lived according to the law “of the jungle”, while in a state of universal war. The law “of the jungle” says that the probability that between any two neighboring countries in the next year will be war. Peace meant only the absence of war. When the world was, for example, between Athens and Sparta, or France and Germany — it meant that now they do not fight, but next year can begin.

Thousands of years people thought it was inevitable, but over the last few decades mankind has been able to do the impossible — to break the law and escape from the “jungle”. We have created a liberal world order based on rules, which, despite many shortcomings, allowed to enter the most prosperous and peaceful era in human history. Changed the very meaning of the word “world” now this is not a temporary absence of war, but it is improbable.

Now in the world there are many countries that it is almost impossible to imagine fighting against each other next year. For example, France and Germany. In some areas of the world, of course, there is a war, but it should not distort the global picture. Now, during the fighting dies less than from suicide, and the powder is less harmful than sugar. Most countries, with some exceptions, for example, Russia, don’t even dream of conquest and annexation of its neighbors, so that most countries can afford to spend only 2% of GDP on defense and spend more on education and health.

This is not a “jungle”. Unfortunately, we are so used to this wonderful situation that we take it for granted, and that means we have become extremely careless. Instead of having to do everything in our power to strengthen fragile world order, countries neglect him, and even oppose it.

World order is now similar to the house in which they live, but no one fixes it. He can hold out for another few years, but if we continue in the same spirit — it collapses and we return to “the jungle”.

We have forgotten what it is, but believe me as a historian, you don’t want to go back there. There is much worse than you think. Yes, our species has evolved in these “jungle” — and even thrived for thousands of years, but returned there with the new technologies of the 21st century, we will likely destroy ourselves. Of course, even if we disappear, it will not be the end of the world. Something will outlive us, for example, rats that in time will be able to rebuild. Maybe the rats will then be able to learn from our mistakes, but I guess hope for world leaders, but not in rats.

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