The Other AI….oh my!
In Dr. Hawking’s posthumously released book, he suggests Artificial Intelligence (AI) be designed to act in a benevolent fashion. To suggest this science be more like Clark Kent and less like Lex Luthor seems a bit Utopian, but he was a smart guy, so maybe he saw something I don’t. I see more Lex types than Clarks’, but maybe I watch too much news. While the whole good versus evil AI may be a fun discussion, I don’t consider it our soonest threat. That nefarious headline belongs to the Other AI (OAI).
The Other AI are Apathy and Ignorance. It, this new force, runs rampant in our society and appears to be getting stronger and bolder as it runs roughshod over curiosity, truth and inquisitiveness. It is a terrible thing to watch as a policy junkie and see how policy is created without appropriate discussion or review. To have the leaders of our country, on both sides of the aisle, pass legislation without a thorough understanding of its implications is both unconscionable and embarrassing. To watch the OAI decimate productive public policy and to perpetuate a path towards entitlement and abandonment of personal responsibility is heartbreaking. It does not only happen at the federal level.
I have watched it creep from the public policy realm to now permeate corporate culture. It pervades the culture by punishing query and innovation. Innovation is a headline received with grand rhetoric and superficial applause. It is a disguise used to mask the status quo. Sure, some do it, but innovation requires a zest for better solutions, candor, and an environment where thoughts can be offered without judgment but with a desire to mold them into something greater. Now, every word is analyzed for potential threat. Candor is abandoned for fear of, not just hurting someone’s feelings, but their very psyche. Any idea is spun to be perceived as an assault on one group or another. It’s sad.
The last recession took its toll on innovation and a workplace open to new ideas. If you were lucky enough to keep your job, you kept your head down and your mouth shut. As time went by, this mentality became more of the norm and while it got a little better as the economy slowly improved, it did little to change the culture or an employee’s willingness to risk future employment or promotion. Now, with the plague, we can hide at home, further deteriorating the innovation environment.
Once upon a time, the U.S. ranked in the top ten in education, manufacturing, productivity and other statistics that would make any citizen proud. Through public policy changes and the OAI, this country’s position slips downward with each passing year. There are some who see problems and have ideas, but OAI is as relentless as Ahab and will give no quarter. It gathers new forces as fear is conjured against change and a greater abdication of responsibility is championed by a larger, and more influential, population. I fear the battle to remain at the top of the innovation pyramid is slowly being lost and without a catalyst, the war is not far behind. I hope we heed the warning signs before it is too late.
Next up … What is your most expensive single expense???