Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Big Data & Human Stupidity

Excerpts from today's reading from the tail end of Chapter 3 of 21 Lessons for the 21st Century, by Yuval Noah Harari

"The danger is that if we invest too much in developing AI and too little in developing human consciousness, the very sophisticated artificial intelligence of computers might only serve to empower the natural stupidity of humans."


"To avoid such outcomes, for every dollar and every minute we invest in improving artificial intelligence, it would be wise to invest a dollar and a minute in advancing human consciousness. Unfortunately, at present we are not doing much in the way of research into human consciousness and ways to develop it. We are researching and developing human abilities mainly according to the immediate needs of the economic and political system, rather than according to our own long-term needs as conscious beings."


"We are now creating tame human that produce enormous amounts of data and function as very efficient chips in a huge data-processing mechanism, but these data-cows hardly maximize human potential. Indeed, we have no idea what our full human potential is, because we know so little about the human mind. And yet we don't invest much in exploring the human mind, instead focusing on increase the speed of our internet connections and the efficiency of our Big Data algorithms. If we are not careful, we will end up with downgraded humans misusing upgraded computers to wreak havoc on themselves and the world."


"But just as Big Data algorithms might extinguish liberty, they might simultaneously create the most unequal societies that ever existed. All wealth and power might be concentrated in the hand of a tiny elite, while most people will suffer not from exploitation but from something far worse - irrelevance."

Big Data Knows Everything

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