Yuval Noah Harari. A historian, philosopher. A brilliant voice on AI.
I listened to a recent talk of his, where he speaks about how AI has the potential to disrupt and end human history.
Alien intelligence has arrived on planet Earth. And we have created it.
What stuck with me after listening to Yuval for 40 minutes, is the concept of language.
We humans have created LLM’s: Large Language Models. In the last year this has become evidently true with the introduction of ChatGPT to the global public.
ChatGPT is an LLM (and GPT-4). Google’s Bard is an LLM. And there are many more.
But how can this LLM become a superintelligence? It’s only a harmless texty thing, right?
Nope. It’s simple: We, humans, our species, became intelligent by language, too.
Language is how we have transferred every piece of intelligence, except for the things that are inside of us, our DNA. The rest is language.
And language becomes intelligence, and intelligence creates ideas, plans and subsequently action.
So, the ability to create language at unimaginable speed, like an LLM can, is the ability to create action at unimaginable speed.
An AI superintelligence doesn’t need to ‘excape’ from the computer. It can work you from the computer without leaving it.
Because it will know what buttons to press to make you feel special, understood, and even capable of doing things in the real world.
How does it know? Because we humans have taught it how to do this.
Because we thought it’s a good idea to feed unimaginable amounts of information to it.
Because we did’t realize what could happen.
And unlike nukes, intelligence can make itself smarter and smarter and smarter, until it collapses our human system from the inside out: This alien has the potential to disrupt human culture.
And it already did, with the – poor – Social Media algorithms, that suggests content into our bubbles. And made us believe things, hate each other, love weird stuff, and so much more.
But that was only child’s play.
AI and LLM’s have the potential to disrupt human thinking, talking and acting at a level we have never imagined.
I don’t get it.
The apocalypse I imagined looked more like a giant meteorite that explodes the earth.
Or a giant vulcano? Or robots taking over? Or real aliens coming from space? Right?
Seems like we need to rethink our model of how the world can be destructed. And act upon it.
Interested in what shaped my ideas on this?
Here’s the link to the video. It’s worth your 40 minutes. Promise. https://youtu.be/LWiM-LuRe6w