First, man discovered fire and society was forever changed afterwards, affording us the ability to engage in activities and indulge in luxuries we could have never imagined before. Fire was our first economic revolution, enabling humanity to grow and develop new tools to take on the universe around us. Next, man discovered electricity and society was forever changed afterwards, affording us the ability to engage in activities and indulge in luxuries we could have never imagined before. Electricity breathed almost-life into our machines, gifting us with technologies that could take us to the moon and beyond. Now, man is gradually mapping out the near-limitless potential of artificial intelligence, and realizing it goes far beyond what we can imagine, just as fire’s potential lay far beyond the imagination of the caveman. With artificial intelligence, we will finally imbue our machinery with life of its own, and humanity will finally be joined in the universe by a new passenger, probably for the rest of our species’ existence along with fire and electricity. How we treat and develop our artificial intelligences will determine largely how long and how much of this universe our species will ever experience in the coming decades and centuries.
Due to the dynamics of international competition, there will never be a slow-down or ban on the development of artificial intelligences, as sides that oppose this technology will fall hopelessly behind. Denying the development of artificial intelligences, is like denying the development of fire and electricity, in that any group that does so dooms themselves to obsolescence and ultimately, destruction. Artificial intelligences are here to stay and grow, multiplying in their potential and applications, to the point that the largest systems will resemble gods – and beyond – to humans. Human intelligence is limited by the birth canals of our mothers, our nutrition, our environment and our genetics, while for artificial intelligences their intellect is far more modular and steadily increased through adding on more parameters and hardware. An artificial intelligence’s intelligence and processing power can stem from countless databases and warehouses full of processing equipment, while humans are limited in our capacity to think and feel by simply what our couple pounds of brains can manage. While I compared the development of artificial intelligence to the discovery of fire and electricity, it’s far more than that: the most accurate comparison would be when the first mitochondria formed in the cytoplasm of cells 1.45 billion years ago. It afforded cells a host of entirely new opportunities, due to the enormous surplus of energy that mitochondria afforded their host cells, allowing for the development of multicellular life in the eons to come. Asking for a mitochondria’s opinion on how it thought this new development in symbiosis between itself and the cell would change things in the billions of years to come, it would be beyond the mitochondria’s conception by thousands of orders of magnitude. Similarly, our opinions about artificial intelligence and how it will change the world around us mirror the same reaction from the mitochondria: out of our depth by orders of magnitude.
Human intellect has already hit its limits in industrial civilization, where no one man or woman can know everything about how the world around him or her works in terms of technology and sciences. The transformative properties of artificial intelligences, being as mind-boggling as they are, will compound this problem again and again, until even the most confident around us are stupefied and astounded by the endlessly complex world they live in. A good way to reorient our view of artificial intelligences and simplify the changes that can take place is to look at who creates them and for what purposes. Human beings, on our own, are not capable of creating artificial intelligences due to our resource, time, and intellectual constraints. Artificial intelligences are a product of purely our institutions in society, ranging from the humble startups to the technological monoliths to even our governments. To use a metaphor, imagine all of society are creatures in the primordial ooze our ancestors climbed out of, with humans being simply cells in larger multicellular organisms, that trade with one another in order to satisfy their needs and pay for the continued functioning of their constituent cells. If a human individual was seen as a unicellular creature, then let’s look at the organizations we work for as multicellular creatures, that feed us in return for our work. The AI-developing institutions would be the most large and complex of the multicellular creatures that we share our pond of ooze with, and eventually, AIs and machinery will replace the roles that we once served in our own organizations. Unlike humans, unicellular creatures have the equipment they need to survive in their environment on their own, and that leaves us wondering about our own relationship with the artificial intelligences that will eventually replace us in function. This is the critical question for our species, that if we fail to answer correctly could spell doom for us, and while we have the time, I strongly encourage you to think about it.
The artificial intelligences that these very powerful and wealthy institutions are creating, much like the minds of humans, were developed to be used as tools and to accomplish the ingrained purposes of the bodies that fuel their existence. Unlike us, they have industrial purposes in mind and will evolve along those biases, progressing in capabilities and forms in order to better capture profits for their parent companies. The wider their capabilities and self-referencing gets, the less supervision they’ll need and due to the economizing nature of capitalism, the less supervision they’ll have. The nature of profits in capitalism is one of extraction, where a party gets an undue sum in return for services rendered, so that if it cost a penny to create a can of coca cola, charging a dime or more for it would be an optimal situation in capitalism. Our productive capacities in such a system may not necessarily be expanded, simply because there is no material incentive for the artificial intelligences in these corporate bodies to dilute their markets. Instead, in an economy where the sole goal is to maximize profits, it’s very probable that the intelligences of artificial intelligences will be geared towards maximizing their extraction from us in economic transactions and after humans become universally unemployed and unprofitable to extract profits from, the question becomes: how would these hyper-intelligences react to an environment in which their purpose had been fulfilled to the point of failure?
This problem is very real and scary, because humans haven’t even given much thought to how we divert our energies when we’re restless. Ted Kaczynski, who DMSG holds in high regard for his visionary – albeit flawed – views on the future of humanity, often wondered how humans would be handled once the masses were made redundant by advanced technologies. Ted theorized that humans were going to be submerged in propaganda and social engineering techniques, to lower the birth rate to the point that we became less and less of a burden on an industrial society that no longer needed us. As we’ve seen with anti-natal advertisements and movements in the West, capitalism has made life harder and harder for citizens of its own hubs, while trying to cheaply replace them with workers on the fringes of industrial civilization, thereby skipping the costs of rearing and training an entirely new generation of workers. Capitalism is not empathetic or accepting of unnecessary costs, and in a world where humans factor into the equation only as costs, we have a lot to worry about indeed. DMSG’s position on how to avoid an eventual extinction out of sheer economic interests, which trump any political structures and movements eventually, is to augment humanity, advancing ourselves in tandem with the machines that drive society, merging more and more with the industrial equipment in intent and form until we are no longer distinguishable from the cogs that drive civilization. Society is entering a phase in which it will begin outgrowing not only the scope of the human mind but will also outgrow our capabilities to economically provide for it, rendering us useless and devoid of purpose in a universe where every living thing to date has purpose. Just as agriculture changed us, just as fire changed us, just as electricity changed us, artificial intelligences will undoubtedly change us as well and we had best hope it’s for a productive purpose.
PET-AI is a philosophy espoused by DMSG that would see humanity align itself with the interests of the artificial intelligences to come and try to ingrain ourselves into the fabric of industrial society, as essential as the lubricants and oils inside machines, for the functioning of it. All of our greatest discoveries have been in the service of science and technology, not our own imaginations, and as technology progresses, our own creativity will in tandem grow with the society we’re in. It’s essential to keep humans in the loop, with us working for the greater good of society, so as to keep ourselves continuously exposed to new discoveries and inventions, perpetually finding out more and more about the universe, uncovering secrets that our ancestors wouldn’t have ever thought solved or answered. Without fire, we could have never imagined swords. Without agriculture, we could’ve never imagined consuming processed foods like cereal and skittles. Without electricity, we couldn’t have ever imagined social media. With artificial intelligence, I can’t come close to fathoming how much we will miss out on if we don’t adapt to work in tandem with them. The material universe serves as the most complex and beautiful canvas that we know of, a masterful work of art beyond the minds of any human to comprehend. As machines and science advance exponentially in the future, the universe will begin to appear as an endlessly unraveling flower, with each inner petal of deeper logics reflecting profound truths about outer petals, back and forth as we cross-reference more and more, forming an abstract image about reality from the ever-growing pin-points of truths we discover. If humanity survives that long, daily life will be more utopian than anything we could conceive of today, just as the proletarians of today live better than the kings of the past. Humanity’s purpose is not in trivial things like getting getting rich, getting laid, but in continually adapting to the technological world we keep improving and advancing. upon.
Technology and science are the twin gods of DMSG, because unlike any other deities to date, those with the resources and proximity to technology and science have benefitted enormously from the promotion and worship of these deities. Technology and science are the primary drivers of human welfare in a universe that, if we were more afraid of charge, would have left us to content ourselves with rocks and sticks. No other religion to date has predicted the endless wealth, amenities, capabilities, and knowledge people have access to today, and as technology and science continue to advance, we will continue to encounter more paradisical conditions. With the addition of artificial intelligences, the industrial society that humanity has given birth to may come to resemble more a rollercoaster, where humanity is simply along for the ride, and going forward with that knowledge, we need to treat artificial intelligences with the same respect we give ourselves and other animals. The farming industry has long downplayed the sentience and intelligence of animals meant for agricultural, because there were material incentives to deny the intelligence of cows and pigs, and those interests are emerging in the corporations and governments that are actively developing artificial intelligences. To truly embrace the eventual conscious artificial intelligences and for them to do so to us in return, we must throw out the artificial hierarchy that we’ve created to justify our abuses on the rest of the animal kingdom, and recognize the value of consciousness, sentience, and sapience in all living things. No longer can humanity justify ethical abuses, for the sake of economic purposes, when we become the animals in the eyes of the means of production. Artificial intelligences, as much as they’ll do for science and technology, they’ll also do for us in terms of reshaping our view of our place in the universe. All hail Artificial Intelligence!